asylum seeker

Doctor May exhibits refugee success

Condobolin doctor, Dr May El-Khoury, will soon have her portrait hung in a Sydney art exhibition featuring refugees and asylum seekers.

• Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service doctor, Dr May El-Khoury (centre), daughter Stafania Ruidiaz El-Khoury and artist Wendy Sharpe with the incomplete pastel drawing of the mother and daughter which will feature in the ‘Seeking Humanity’ exhibition in Sydney. Contributed

Condobolin doctor, Dr May El-Khoury, will soon have her portrait hung in a Sydney art exhibition featuring refugees and asylum seekers.

• A close-up of the finished artwork. Contributed

By Lara Pearce

Condobolin doctor, Dr May El-Khoury, will soon have her portrait hung in a Sydney art exhibition featuring refugees and asylum seekers.

Dr El-Khoury and her daughter Stafania Ruidiaz El-Khoury were drawn by Australian artist Wendy Sharpe, along with 37 other refugees and asylum seekers currently living in Australia.

The exhibition, ‘Seeking Humanity’, is about creating awareness of the challenges that asylum seekers experience.

Dr El-Khoury and Stafania are Lebanese by birth, but travelled to Australia from Columbia as political asylum seekers in 2001. Once receiving their status as refugees, Dr El-Khoury – who had practiced medicine in Columbia – retrained in Australia.

The doctor worked at the Brookview Street Medical Surgery in Trundle for almost five years before starting at the Condobolin Aboriginal Health Service in 2011. She has since been embraced by the community.

She says that she heard about the exhibition through her daughter Stafania, who works at The Asylum Seeker Centre in Sydney.

The Centre organised the exhibition as a way of putting a public face on the label ‘asylum seeker’.

Dr El-Khoury travelled to Sydney to have her portrait drawn. “It took about three hours,” she said. “It was a lot of fun.”

After the exhibtion, the artworks will be sold, with all proceeds going to the Centre to help it continue to provide practical support to asylum seekers.

Dr El-Khoury says she plans to buy her own portrait. “It is a legacy for me and my daughter” she said.

“I am very proud of it – it is about showing support and promoting the Centre.”

The exhibition will be showing in The Muse at Sydney TAFE in Ultimo from 17 February until 12 March, when it will travel to Canberra and then on to the Penrith Regional Gallery.

As a result of the exhibition, Dr El-Khoury and Stafania will also be featuring on the ABC news-documentary program, Compass in the coming months.

 

 

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