I continued my journey with Bukjeh in 2019 and took on an additional role co-producing our performance at Bunjil Place, Narre Warren.
The work changes and evolves in response to the artistic team and the space/area the performance is set. Prior to the run at Bunjil Place, we worked with the local community through weekly workshops in the lead up to the performances, and invited them to share their stories ‘under the tent’. This project was supported by the City of Casey.
My work for Bukjeh developed over time as I discover stories from my ancestors and family lineage. Being able to identify my own cultural displacement growing up as third/fourth generation Chinese Malaysian has answered a lot of questions I had and filled up some of the missing pieces. In addition to two new performance pieces that I co-created with fellow artists José-Pepe Inostroza Aqueveque and Sermsah (Suri) bin Saad, I made two items for the exhibition - my Bukjeh and Ancestral Trail - a piece modeled after the ancient Chinese robes.
Bukjeh was also performed at Shepparton on the same week, as part of the Refugee Week Launch.
Photos by Aseel Tayah and Sarmad Yassin
Bukjeh is a virtual swag of real and intimate stories by people who have been forced to leave our homes, created in response to children’s questions about refugees. In Arabic, bukjeh describes the small pack of belongings carried by travellers and refugees. By sharing a view into our suitcases, sacks, and pockets, we are sharing our feelings, memories, and experiences of home—and of having to leave it.
Our stories define us and make us unique. The testimonies of those displaced in this ever-changing world are worth documenting and sharing with this and future generations. More information on Bukjeh here.
Bukjeh is available for touring. Please get in touch for more information.