Art bridges culture at Bondi Beach

14 March 2023

As part of our Anti Racism Campaign, Waverley Council and Settlement Services International (SSI)  recently held an artist talk, 'Taking another look'. Artists Emmanuel Asante and Shiva Dadvar joined in conversation with arts professional and writer, Kiri Zakinthinos. Emmanuel and Shiva were selected last year as part of Council’s inaugural United to End Racism Art Competition to create two murals along the beach promenade.

Emmanuel and Shiva (pictured- below) were selected last year as part of the Council’s inaugural United to End Racism Art Competition to create two murals along the beach promenade.

Both artists are supported by the SSI's Arts & Culture program. Waverley Council has partnered with with Settlement Services International on several projects aimed at helping refugees, including children and families, experience a taste of their new life in Australia. In 2021, Council hosted a welcome picnic at Bondi Beach for a large number of Afghani families and individuals who needed to be  evacuated from their home country following political and civil unrest.

Emmanuel, from Ghana, West Africa, began painting and drawing to help him deal with depression and personal experiences. He arrived in Australia in 2015 and works as a casual high school teacher. His art is highly influenced by his culture, Frida Kahlo and his artist mentor Abdul Abdullah. He contributed to several art projects at Addison Road Community Centre, Marrickville, Liverpool City Council and Headspace Campbelltown.

Iranian (Persian) artist Shiva Dadvar began to paint, create, and sell commissioned artworks in her teens. Due to religious discrimination, she could not study art in her home country. She is now completing her arts studies at TAFE NSW and took part in last year’s SSI’s Inner West Refugee exhibition at Callan Park.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the event was an opportunity for residents to gain a wider understanding of the challenges facing newly arrived in Australia and how art can break down barriers.

“Waverley Council is delighted to welcome Emmanuel and Shiva to our home by the sea and for their artworks to be enjoyed by our millions of visitors,” Mayor Masselos said.

“They have made unique contributions on the Bondi Sea Wall.”

Kat O’Neill, Community Engagement Manager at Settlement Services International said the murals are a great way to use art as a vehicle for starting conversations about diversity and how it strengthens us in one of Australia's most iconic places.

"People who flee their homes seeking safety bring with them an abundance of skills, perspective, and experience that adds value to their new home and community," Kat said.

Settlement Services International is a community organisation and social business that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. We work with all people who have experienced vulnerability, including refugees, people seeking asylum and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, to build capacity and enable them to overcome inequality. Visit Both artists are part of SSI’s Creative Pathways program.

The Taking Another Look panel discussion was lead by arts professional and writer, Kiri Zakinthinos, whose driving purpose is for a fairer, more inclusive, more democratic cultural landscape, which reflects our plurality of cultures and lived experiences. The artists spoke about the opportunity to create the murals at the seawall, and also about their stories and experiences of racism in Australia.


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