We dedicate this digital issue to the legends David Bowie, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Lou Reed, Sharon Jones, George Michael, Carrie Fisher and the many whom have shaped us and the world we continue to progress in.
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C O N T E N T S SOCIETY & CULTURE 9 The Feasibility of Democracy in a Post-Consensus World 11 One Night in Berghain 13 LGBT Muslims and The Fight for Acknowledgement 17 Strengthening the Quality of Healthcare in Libya
TRAVEL 23 Vietnam
THEATRE 47 2016 Theatre Recap 49 Is Theatre Losing Its Originality? 51 Curtain Call 2017
FASHION 55 IMANA 63 A Culture Clash
MUSIC 33 37 38 42 43
Avenoir Photo Gallery 2016 The Downside of Fame
POW! NEGRO INTERVIEW Band Feature
Album Picks | Music Video Selection
PHOTO BY TASHA TONG -FAYE
CO N T RIBU T O R S
WRITERS | PHOTOGRAPHERS | ARTISTS
CHRIS GARDNER SOPHIA SKEA AMY PRACILIO VICTORIA FOSS CALOGERO ALGERI ZAERËN MOMAND SAM STOPFORTH PATRICK MCCARTHY BRANDON CHISEKO TARA SIDEBOTTOM MIKAELA ZARIFIS ROMA CHRISTIAN
SAM HUGHES RAHALIE MCGUIRK TASHA TONG-FAYE ASHLEIGH ANGUS BARBARA GERMES ALEX ENID (ALEXJUSTSPAT) TASHA TONG-FAYE MASON DEVINE MATTHEW JAMES CALLUM JONES CHRIS DAVIES ALLISON READ MARK PIASECKI NICOLE FILEV CHRIS WEBSTER MARZIYA MOHAMMADELI CHRIS KERR JORDAN MORICH ALLISON READ KEIRAN GIBSON-MACFARLANE SHANNAN STEWART BRIDGET NIELSON LEWIS MARTIN
CHIEF EDIT O R ’ S LET TER
2016, a year we have lost legends in the arts all the way to
witnessing the instigation of destruction towards humanity in all forms. And though it appears that all hope is lost, there are still many of whom we could count on to have faith in; such as the doctors of Medecin San Frontiers, the White Helmets who continue to care for the displaced and wounded in wartorn areas, all the way to the Amnesty International team giving voice to the minority living in states void of humanitarian justice. As we enter into the year of 2017, all I could say in quote of Graham Greene “Destruction is a form of creation”. - Zaerën Safi-Momand
PHO TO: CHRIS DAVIES | SEAN KUTI @ PER TH INTERNATIO NALS ARTS FESTIVAL
S OCIET Y & C U L T U R E
AVENOIR ISSUE #2
A PA R T I S A N D E F I C I E N C Y T H E F E A S I B I L I T Y O F D E M O C R AC Y I N A P O S T - CO N S E N S U S W O R L D
Illustration by Ashleigh Angus
by Chris Gard n er
I agonized for a long time before I decided to write this article. Initially, my intention had been to make a clear and definite point, referencing theorists and ideas that I felt created a coherent framework for the future. But issuing diktats from above as I am some sort of authority and not just another enshackled proletarian would be the antithesis to what is needed now. Predictions and prescriptions are all well and good, but people have been sold snake oil with such regularity this year, worldwide resurgences in obfuscating crypto-speak designed to shroud reality in a veil of post-modern meaningless subjectivity. I don’t want to talk about a strategy to disempower the “alt-right” in the political sense when my legitimate view is that they’re Nazis that deserve to get clobbered. Where my initial goal was to map the future, I have come to realise that most of all, what I and a lot of people need to do is take stock, and map the present.
In July of last year, I wrote an article in response to the shooting of five police officers by Micah Johnson in the US. In it, I employed colourful language to argue that this would represent a turning point, that there was no going back, that revolution was inevitable. Looking back I can’t help but think that I was propelled by my own bias rather than a fair assessment of reality. “The train has left the station!” I declared authoritatively. Marxist intellectual and walking Nasonex commercial Slavoj Zizek said, in a Thinknow! video just after Trump’s victory that, to employ a laboured mechanical metaphor, Noam Chomsky’s “machine that generates consent” has broken down. It, like my train metaphor, doesn’t quite do reality a complete justice. But at its core is a potent truth; the underlying consensus of liberal western representative democracy, that it runs in the correct way, representing all of us and maximising our freedom and
quality of life, is eroding. Vast swaths of the electorate in many countries, not just the US, are turning away from “establishment” politics. To be fair, they were before the election too. Indeed, that consideration factored into my belief of imminent revolt. The issue is, liberalism pulled a rather nifty trick on people, sometime after hippies finally put shoes on. It convinced people, vast numbers of them, that voting in elections could somehow be equated to revolutionary action. You can see it in the faux-revolutions of Sanders and Trump. So all that revolutionary potential, all of that impotent rage slowly growing in potency, was funnelled away from any kind of mass collectivisation and instead towards a non-establishment protest candidate like Trump, or an economically reckless act of symbolic xenophobia like Brexit. These actions do not subvert or dismantle the established order, but
instead present it with a slightly different framework to exercise its authority; if the UK becomes free of the EU’s cosmopolitan neoliberalism, it will instead be beholden to Theresa May and co’s hard-right ideologies. Trump may have no desire for war with Russia but giving an admittedly vindictive man access to the Obama administration’s vast surveillance and drone programs present a seriously rotten can of worms domestically if opened. In any situation, the lurch towards far-right authoritarianism has been presented as an emancipatory step for the common person, but instead has delivered something wildly different in practice. I will make some generalisations here, which I will stress are my personal estimations of people based on my own experiences. I will say that amongst friends and colleagues, many different ethnicities, sexualities, gender identities and political affiliations are represented. I have had discussions with conservative Christians and far-left gender-queer atheists, maybe not in equal measure but both of which more times to count. I will not deny that those on the conservative right have views that universes away from mine, but beyond competitive loaded language, I do believe there are some common threads. That is to say, I’ve never met a single person who wants to see friends and neighbours rounded up by government forces. I’ve never met anyone who wants a violent and chaotic society built around force and distrust. I’ve met a lot of people (left and right, progressive and conservative) with incredibly biased or plainly incorrect understandings of historical events or philosophical ideas, who are confused by increasingly academic discourse that is divorced from their immediate experience. I’ve met a lot of people who just want a home, a decent jobs market and wage, and a decent world for their kids. But there are contradictions. I’ve met people who are furious about how neoliberal policies have resulted in an upward consolidation of wealth and a slow deterioration of both their communities and sense of community, but truly believe that left-wing thought is inevitably dictatorial and repressive, and that only “true” non-crony capitalism can save them. I’ve met people who are legitimately and viscerally upset about the oppression of minority groups, but either wilfully or inadvertently fall under the spell of liberal identity politics’ simple good guys-bad guys binary
and ignore the underlying intersectionality of a classbased analysis. I’ve met people from all four quadrants and one thing remains clear; the discourse surrounding social and political issues is so loaded with partisan, my side vs. your side implications, either consciously or subconsciously, that we have ceased to talk about direction, and are instead talking about stances. Who we are, not where we’re going. There are certain inequalities that are impossible to ignore. To flesh out each individual issue would take at least an article in itself, but suffice to say, outcomes for Australia’s worst off aren’t getting better. Indigenous communities continue to be ripped apart by complimentary woes of substance abuse, lack of prospects and callous, ineffective government interventions. The continued ideological attack on social services threatens all those with mental health concerns, be they white men to queer non-binary people of colour. The list of social failures goes on and on. In virtually every way measurable, there represents a stark numerical divide between the have’s and the have-not’s. And increasingly, who you are, in identitarian terms, has less and less to do with which side of the fence you fall on In a lecture entitled “The Freedom of Forced Choice” at the University of Porto School of Fine Arts in 2014, aforementioned sniffleman Zizek made an interesting point, which I think cuts to the core of this issue. To paraphrase, his point was that in this, 21st century liberal capitalism, we are conditioned to believe that many things, indeed virtually all things, are possible. We CAN express our sexual and gender identity any way we like. We CAN express our culture of ethnicity with pride, can identify any way you like and purchase virtually any goods or experiences or services provided you have the capital. Anything is possible. But then, some things are starkly impossible. Like raising taxes on the 1% and providing better and more accessible services to citizens, these things are politically impossible, regardless of the will of the general populace. We are given the freedom to choose anything on the one hand, within a strict framework of economic hierarchy on the other. What does this mean for the present, the here and now? Well, for one thing it confirms what many people have long suspected; the system of representative democracy
has failed to represent the people. Our “leaders” do not speak for everyone anymore. No amount of voting or between-the-lines protest can unseat the entrenched power structure, because if it could, it already would have. If you are conservative, the governments of the world have taken from you the right to hold to your communities and traditions in the face of everaccelerating globalised business and movement of people. If you are right wing, the increasingly oligarchical corporate elite have taken from you the opportunity to work towards amassing wealth and prosperity in favour of “crony” capitalism, and regardless of your views on such an ideology it is undeniable that the current iteration only functions for those already in possession of vast resources. If you are a liberal centrist, the idea of fair and pluralistic debate has been shattered with the election of far-right neo-fascist demagogues across the globe. If you are progressive, your desire to see marginalised groups achieve some degree of self determination is consistently thwarted by the single minded profit motive of capital, and if, like me, you are far-left, you probably have a list of capitalism’s failures longer than this article to share. In no quadrant of the political compass have people not been royally shafted by their so-called representatives in the name of global wealth accumulation. It’s time to stop expecting the failing machine to start working again. It’s time to expect the impossible, not in the sense that it becomes possible, but in the sense that it was always possible and now we simply accept it as so. The broken system cannot simply install a new leader, a new ruling framework, and fix itself. That idea, that a framework so rotten to the core could simply swap out leadership with a different kind of leadership and fix itself of all of it’s structural woes, is the truly impossible dream. There is no person, left or right, progressive or conservative, who looks at the landscape of the world as we see it and could honestly say “this functions well, this represents and provides for all people.” And once the debate is viewed, not in tribalistic terms but in a true analysis of who wins and who loses, it is impossible not to come to the inevitable consensus that it is the ruling moneyed class who wins, over and over. Partisan labels dropped, the machine repairs itself.
AVENOIR ISSUE #2
Image courtesy of Nicole Filev by Amy Pra c ilio
A certain scruffy hipster ex-boyfriend of mine once told me that I wasn’t ‘cool enough’ to get into Berlin’s most exclusive minimalist techno club, Berghain. In fact, as I am a straight edge, tea-drinking, old-school hip-hop loving, redhead whose aesthetic more likely fits an extra in Clueless than an industrial neo-goth, he was probably right. But the scarily high chance of rejection didn’t stop me from trying my luck at the strictest door policy in Europe. Berlin’s church of techno, and the myth that surrounds it, is fuelled by exclusivity. Every weekend hundreds of Berliners and hopeful visitors line up for Berghain’s ‘Clubnacht,’ an electronic music party running from Saturday midnight to Monday noon. Many wait for hours outside the former East Berlin power station just to be halted by an intimidating doorman, and leave baffled by
their seemingly random rejection. Berghain’s main doorman, writer, and photographer, Sven Marquardt is famously not fond of the term bouncer but labels himself a ‘mood curator.’ In a 2014 GQ article, he said his doormen are similarly subjective, and aim at creating friction among the clubbing masses. Despite this objective of friction, the Berghain newcomer usually follows certain pre-determined aesthetics to increase their chances. There are countless articles, blogs, personal shoppers to find you that industrial gothic style, and even an app that uses face recognition technology to decide your fate at the gates. Wear black, dress industrial, dress neo-gothic, don’t smile,
don’t speak English, don’t look at your phone, don’t act drunk, don’t talk in the line, know the DJs, go alone, go as a couple, and don’t you dare look that doorman in the eye! The rules are numerous and maybe ultimately pointless, but it’d be hard to find a Berghain first-timer that doesn’t at least emulate the pre-determined uniform of black clothing. I was one of them. After being rejected with two friends one Sunday morning by an apologetic doorman who stated “not today, ladies,” it seemed that wearing black was not enough. The curiosity and drive that came from this initial obstacle I assume is similar for those that continue try week after week. I spent some time perfecting what I perceived as a ‘Berghain style: a mesh playsuit, skin-tight pleather skirt,
O NE NIGHT IN BERGHAIN choker, neo-gothic make-up, dark cat-eye sunglasses, and lace-up boots. And similarly my persona: be quiet, show no emotion, and don’t look at that bouncer directly. Catching the U-Bahn to Ostbanhoff alone on a Sunday afternoon, several black-clad revellers descended alongside me to what felt like just another Berlin industrial area until I heard that pulsating techno.
privileges those Berghainers who wish to embrace their sexuality, with a labyrinth of dark rooms available to do ‘dark things’ with one another. Whilst, the lack of mirrors or any reflective surfaces in the venue ward off self-consciousness, and invite the eye to observe those interesting beings right in front of them. And so very interesting they were…
Berghain’s communist-era façade is as intimidating as its line. I watched nervously as group after group were rejected. Some were obvious: a big group of Aussie guys that were too drunk and loud in particular. But others, like two British men and a German girl that ‘fit’ the neo-gothic look to a tee were similarly ushered away.
Leather and latex clad, neo-gothic, industrial, chokerwearing, tattooed, often half-naked, whilst simultaneously unusual looking yet very attractive, Berghain’s crowd is beyond aesthetically intriguing. As I could not help but feel like an intruder who had slipped through the techno cracks, I wondered how many of us felt like we truly belonged. Whether these personas were genuine, or placed upon the crowd by the culture and myth that surrounds Berghain. Whether we were wearing masks or merely taking them off to reveal our true selves, it felt freeing.
And so it was my turn to be silently judged. I took my sunglasses off in the hope that my short-sightedness would add to my nonchalance. A tall, built, dark-haired doorman whose face was not as intimidating as I expected, gestured for me to halt. I waited for the longest two minutes of my life as he spoke to someone on his headpiece. Although he could have been discussing his choice of dinner or a funny anecdote, I assumed a tattooed, pierced, leather-clad Berliner was judging my ‘Berghainness’ from afar. Then, in a gift from the techno gods he didn’t ask me to speak as to reveal my non-German accent and ushered me in with one swift hand movement! Although probably the most ecstatic and accomplished I’ve ever felt, I attempted to maintain composure through security and the infamous stickers placed on your phone cameras ritual. After clearing the cloakroom, I ran into the masses before someone could realise I was clearly not cool enough to be there. Perhaps it’s the adrenaline and euphoria that comes with being ‘accepted’ into a house of exclusivity, but once past the door Berghain feels free. It seems the ban on photo-taking denoted human engagement, instead of documentation. This lack of incessant documentation
The clubbers I engaged with were as interesting as their exteriors. Welcoming and accepting, upon hearing it was my ‘first-time’ they were enthusiastic to share their rite of passage tales. One such regular at the house music mecca Panorama Bar, a black-clad man from Nice who flies to Berlin monthly to party, seemed to solidify the club’s essence. He kept coming back to Berghain not to be a part of some mythical ‘scene,’ but for the freedom and importantly the music. An Italian-Berliner personified the industrial aesthetic: long black shorts, black singlet, and sock suspenders with trainers. After beckoning me to dance with him and his girlfriend, he oozed confidence, charm, kindness, and undeniably belonged. His Swedish arts-student girlfriend, with a white-chained corset and pigtail buns presses herself against the sound system to let the music pulsate through her. As if becoming instant friends, we down Berliner Luft together, complain of past relationships, speak of radical feminism, and justify why we don’t really require men at all.
You can feel the deafening deep techno beat in your bones, and in your heart on the main minimalist techno floor. The world-class sound system penetrates, as Berghainers dance alone, yet in sequence whilst all facing (and arguably worshipping) the DJ. In a cult-like trance, hours meld into each other. Every so often the blinds open revealing Sunday’s daylight, and suddenly the outside world infiltrates. Clubgoers cheered and screamed as if acknowledging the reality that beckons once they leave. As quite the ‘straight-edge’ myself, I was able to just survive sixteen hours on a cocktail of adrenaline, gin and tonics, Club Mate, and Berliner Luft shots. But if harder drugs are your thing, they are plentiful, easily accessible and often free, undoubtedly adding to Berghain’s euphoria. Maybe it is all a myth. As a clubbing novice, you’re bound to have an enjoyable time at one of Berlin’s many underground clubs with much easier door policies. Maybe Berghain’s urban legend surpasses it. Perhaps the fact that for many of us the random, stringent, door ritual, and the reality that our chances of getting in are so slim, exacerbates the freeing atmosphere once granted entry. Whether its myth evades it or is totally justified, week after week in the line-of-judgement people wait for acceptance into this church of techno. This cultural phenomenon harnesses the clubbing scenes gone past, where music, experience, sexuality, and freedom are paramount. At Berghain, our contemporary need to document is trumped by excessive desire to experience and maybe that alone is what makes it so brilliant. For whatever reason you choose to brave the line: to prove an ex-boyfriend wrong, to solidify your coolness, mere curiosity, or actually being a genuine techno fan, the Berghain experience is worth the unsure wait.
AVENOIR ISSUE #2 Marziya Mohammedali fb: @kikeidotnet tw: @kikei ig: @kikeidotnet
by Sop hi a Skea
The lack of LGBT+ representation in modern media is a flag which has been raised many a time, however there is a distinct lack of discussion surrounding the Western lens filtering queer portrayals we do see. When the majority of images we see are whitewashed, it can become easy to buy into the fiction that the LGBT+ community is solely comprised of fair-skinned, middle class humans bound to fall victim to romantic tragedy, or less specifically, that non-straight people do not exist outside of Western countries. The indescribably horrific Orlando massacre ignited heated, and often hate-fuelled, discussion around Islam and homosexuality, pouring gasoline over the Islamophobic bonfire already polluting our recent climate. Much of the world came together in grief, holding vigils and loudly condemning the fact that this level of gross intolerance still exists. Though many LGBT+ Muslims were forced to mourn in silence, hiding from a community seeking to blame an entire religion for one manâ€™s atrocious act.
LGBT M U S L I M S A N D T H E F I G H T FO R ACK N O W L E D G E M E N T : U N SCREW ING T HE WES T ER N LEN S
The Islamic position on the LGBT+ community is not easily defined, as the 1.6 million strong faith group, spanning multiple continents, is naturally quite diverse. However, most Islamic scholars are of the opinion that homosexuality does not align with Islamic theology, often referencing the story of Lot in the Qur’an, which also features in the Old Testament. Moreover, while in several Muslim countries, such as Jordan and Turkey, homosexuality is not illegal, most do consider it a crime. In some, including Sudan and Saudi Arabia, it is punishable by death. Though the laws are disastrous for those affected, authorities seldom seek out LGBT+ folks for persecution. In fact, the arrest statistics are certainly lower than those in England in the 1950’s. The Guardian reports that in 1952 alone there was 670 for sodomy, 3087 for attempted sodomy or indecent assault, and 1686 for gross indecency. One reason for the comparatively small number of arrests is the guise that homosexuality is a Western concept which has not broached the Middle East, a trope which further propagates the idea that sexuality is ‘chosen’, and who’s fan is flamed by lack of public representation. Still, the problem with even laxly enforced laws against homosexuality is that they signify official disapproval, validate anti-gay rhetoric, and provide excuse for vigilantes. In this way, many LGBT+ Muslims are directly affected by familial and societal attitudes than by inhumane legislation. For most LGBT+ people, coming out is a dizzying experience whether positive or negative, but for many Muslims, it is an incredibly difficult decision to make. Though of course there are other communities who face similar anti-LGBT verbosity, the pressure to marry within Islamic culture is immense. For those who are not
heterosexual, this presents a problem. Some prolong their studies or move abroad to avoid this process, some fall into an ill suited arranged marriage, and some come out. Often, the reaction to an individual’s coming out depends on the family’s social class and education, however extreme reactions can involve physical attack, ostracism, or conversion therapy. These actions are frequently said to be made in the name of Islam, as they fit with the oppressive black cloud that the Islamophobic media presents the faith to be. However, we need only to look to present day America, and their Vice President elect, to know that these kind of attitudes transcend religion or culture. In Channel 4’s 2016 study of British Muslims, 52% respondents agreed that homosexuality should be legal in the UK, as oppose to 5% of the general public vote. Naturally, this deeply entrenched negative discourse often leads to high levels of internalized homophobia in LGBT+ Muslims and, manifesting low mental health as well as causing some to doubt their religious identity. Rusi Jaspal, Professor of Psychology and Sexual Health at De Montfort University noted that many interviewees from his own research in the same field had ‘no positive theological frame of reference given the absence of LGBT affirmative voices at an institutional level’, leading them to conclude that even endorsing homosexuality was a violation of Islamic faith. One of his interviewees, a gay man, said, “It’s [being gay] wrong, really, isn’t it?... I know that doing gay things is evil but I hope I’ll change my ways and take the right path soon” However, Prophet Muhummad never outlined a punishment for homosexuality, this is something that
was discussed much later, once again based off of God’s punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah. While many have realised that this story was discussing sexual assault and not homosexual intercourse, few sects of Muslim culture have been willing to accept this reading – though many fundamentalist Christians won’t either. The greater underlying issue is oppression of individual expression and the expected upholding of societal ‘norms’ – which homosexuality is not perceived to be. In this way, the rights and desires of individual civilians are suppressed for the perceived interest of the community. Considering the harsh social and legal consequences of being oneself, it is easy to see why the rise of activist groups campaigning for rights and, at a more basic level, acknowledgement of LGBT+ Muslims has been a slow-moving process. At present, no group or person has successfully attempted a Pride parade in an Arab country, though some celebrations have been held in Lebanon and Istanbul, despite facing opposition. However, those individuals determined to overturn widespread intolerance have found a space of solace in the powerful world of social media. Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) is a group of such people, who since their founding in New York in 2007, have committed themselves to ‘challenging social inequality and human rights’ within the Muslim faith, through the teachings of Islam. The organisation, with sub groups in Australia, The Netherlands, and Bangladesh to name a few, align themselves with ten core principles in their search for an accepting world. The acceptance of anyone who identifies as Muslim without questioning the truthfulness of this claim, call for a secular government, encouragement of traditional Islamic morals in conjunction with critical
AVENOIR ISSUE #2
analysis of scripture and discourse, and the unequivocal acceptance of every sect of the Muslim community are among the light bulbs in their pioneering light of change. From sharing the stories of out and proud practising Muslims, to linking members globally with Mosques occupied by LGBT+ friendly Imams, such as Melbourne’s Nur Warsame, MPV has penetrated a silenced community and created a sanctuary for the dissolution of intolerance. On other screen name dependent networks, such as Twitter and Tumblr, similar communities have formed by those within the countries most affected by LGBT+ phobic rhetoric who are demanding progression. Fortified by the option of anonymity, and the informality of the platforms, many successes have come to fruition. An instance of particular note came from Cairo in 2014, wherein TV presenter Mona Iraqi’s endeavour to expose “the secret behind the spreading of Aids in Egypt” faced resounding opposition, and later faced legal issues, as reported by The Guardian. Another, when authorities in Jordan were forced to revoke their decision to ban Mashrou’ Leila, a band with an openly gay singer, from performing in Amman. While these wins are relatively minor when it comes to the reform needed to even begin to reach equality, they have created visibility in a way that cannot be denied. They have provided unapologetic representation. They have made it that much more difficult for anyone, of any culture, to deny the existence of LGBT+ Muslims. Interestingly, despite the diversity of these online forums, most Islamic rhetoric around the LGBT+ community is still centred around homosexual men. Relations between two women, or asexual relationships are often dismissed due to the patriarchal hierarchy that fixates on masculinity. Since homosexuality is perceived as a threat to this, a
spotlight is cast upon relations between males. However, they are certainly not the only identity under fire. Gender segregation, which is highly popular in conservative countries, causes obvious issues for transgender, intersex, and non-binary people, as many cultures criminalise cross-dressing, and few countries offer a way to register change of sex. Again, this is not derivative of traditional Islamic teachings, as some reports show that the prophet was familiar with three types of gender beyond the widely perceived binary. Eunuchs (castrated males) and Mukhannathun (feminine men) did not face the same gender segregation and could use women’s quarters. The Khuntha, which today would be classed as intersex, became more complex. The Quran states that god “created everything in pairs”, forming the Islamic doctrine that everything is male or female, and thus a sex neutral option does not exist. Islamic jurists resolved that the Khuntha had a “hidden sex”, which was determined by where they urinated from.
reassignment surgeries than any country other than Thailand, but this seemingly liberal country has a darker side. People are often pressured into surgery, be it transgender people who only want an official gender without going under the knife, or gay men who are persuaded into becoming women so as not to face execution for dating other males. This unfortunate pressure is thought to derive from a lack of understanding of the difference between ‘transgender’ and ‘homosexual’ identities in this and other Islamic countries. Yet again it comes down to education, and the ability to disseminate information in areas with such conservative governmental control. We, as a Western culture, often see Middle Eastern conflicts in an ‘other’ light; deeming them out of sight, out of mind, and viewing attempts at reform to be futile, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We have a responsibility to support LGBT+ activism within every culture, to quash Islamophobic flames with blankets of unfiltered facts, and to pioneer a world wherein each individual might just be free to be themselves.
The importance of this historical ruling is that it shows tolerance for sex reassignment only for finding “hidden sex”, not for transgender individuals seeking to correct gender dysphoria. A hugely controversial case documented in Brian Whitaker’s Transgender Issues in The Middle East involving an Egyptian university student confirmed this notion, resulting in a fatwa determining that sex reassignment surgery could only occur to reveal a “hidden” gender not to change at one’s own “wish”.
Furthermore, on a more direct level, we must demand and normalise the representation of LGBT+ people in our media who do not fit in with the current, whitewashed stereotype. Viewing any societal sect as a monolith is grossly dismissive, and thus classifying the LGBT+ community as a Western phenomenon is wilful ignorance in the most socially ingrained form.
As a result, transgender individuals who want surgery often go abroad; unsurprisingly though, finding social acceptance and official recognition of gender change is a painstaking process.
Just as acceptance of yourself should not be dependent on your sexual or gender identity, the validation to do so should not be dependent on your religion or geography. The silencing of minorities within minorities is now untenable, after all, we cannot truly reach equality until our whole community is free.
From the surface, Iran has fewer problems with gender dysphoria than most Arab states and performs more
“We, as a Western
culture, often see Middle Eastern conflicts in an ‘other’ light; deeming them out of sight, out of mind, and viewing attempts at reform to be futile
GRAPHIC BY ZAEREN MOMAND
AVENOIR ISSUE #2
STRENGTHENING THE QUALITY OF H E A LT H C A R E I N L I BYA by Vic to ria Foss
Before 2011, Libya had a fully functioning healthcare system that depended heavily on foreign medical staff. However, when armed conflicts began in 2011 many foreign workers left the country, leaving Libya’s healthcare system in chaos. Five years on, the situation in Libya has changed from a revolution to a civil war with the Tobruk government and the National Salvation Government fighting for control over the country.
Libya is often portrayed as a carnage site of conflict by the Western media. We often see images of shell-shocked children, heartbroken relatives and destroyed buildings on our televisions and in our newspapers. While the images offer some representation of the events occurring in Libya, certain areas in the country are excluded from the fighting. One of these areas is a city in north-eastern Libya called Al Marj. Life in Al Marj is safe and quiet. There, people go about their daily lives without fear. However, like the hospitals in conflict zones such as Benghazi and Tripoli, Al Marj’s General Hospital which serves a population of over 400,000 people, is in a critical situation due to the very high shortage of nurses and other paramedical staff.
Australia (UWA) before working at Fremantle Hospital, Albany Hospital and the King Edward Memorial Hospital. Afterwards, she completed a few postgraduate diplomas in tropical medicine and hygiene and then undertook an advanced diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology.
Furthermore, as a result of Libya’s heavy reliance on “outsourcing to experts”, many Libyan medical staff are under skilled due to being excluded from hands-on patient care.
“The hospital basically has an MRI machine which is a very very sophisticated tool for diagnosing illness, but [doesn’t] have mops for the cleaners,” Andrea Atkinson, one of the MSF volunteers working at the hospital explains. “The infrastructure’s here, the buildings are here, the doctors are here [and] often the medications and supplies are here. It’s just how you use those supplies and how you use those people in the most effective way to actually address the health issues, which is a very challenging topic for us.”
While the international community continues to turn a blind eye to the dire situation in Libya, organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have been working in the country since the conflict began. Since 2011, MSF has been providing medical care and psychological support to those affected by the conflict; donated antibiotics and painkillers to hospitals; and provided training to medical staff.
Andrea is a local Perth doctor from Shelley, a small suburb located within the City of Canning. She grew up in Zimbabwe during its upheaval which saw thousands of white farmers forced to surrender their farms to President Mugabe’s black supporters under his land reform programme through methods of torture and coercion. After moving to Perth at the age of 15, she went on to study medicine at the University of Western
Two months ago, she arrived in Libya as part of a team of six-person team—which consisted of three nurses, a midwife and an obstetrician gynaecologist specialist—to work as a medical activity manager at the Al Marj General Hospital. 65% of Al Marj’s hospital admissions are for the maternity unit and that is where Andrea spends the bulk of her time. “The reason we identif[ied] the maternity unit as the place to work with is that it’s often the women and children who suffer the most when there is conflict, because a lot of the resources gets redirected to caring for soldiers [and] to the injured, and the places that those resources are taken from are often maternity and paediatrics.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 60% of Libyan hospitals have either become inaccessible or closed due to the conflict. Hospitals are overcrowded and their capacities have been severely reduced. The ongoing conflict has had a disastrous effect on the healthcare system’s supply chain, leading to a shortage of drugs, surgical and laboratory supplies, which in turn limits the standard of healthcare provided to the Libyan people. Moreover, an estimated 1.9 million people are in urgent need of basic medical assistance.
She began working with MSF in 2015, where she first served as a field doctor in the Bentu protection of civilians’ camp in South Sudan late last year. There, she assisted with looking after people who had been affected by Sudan’s malaria epidemic and other diseases such as tuberculosis and women who had fallen victim to sexual violence outside the camp.
Medical activity management is a very new role within MSF and Andrea’s main role is organising activities with the hospital staff to address various health issues. “I guess the main issues we’ve identified here are a quality of care issues, rather than access to care which is
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a big difference from somewhere like South Sudan,” Andrea explains. “You’re in this kind of twilight zone where you need to address basic issues like hygiene and sterility, but these aspects really may have lost the importance that […] we consider them to have in a hospital full of staff.” While the mission at Al Marj hospital is still in its early stages, Andrea and her other team members are actively working to reintroduce ideas of hygiene and sterility. The hospital still has a functioning sterilisation department and laundry department, but very little equipment, so MSF is working to provide a more constant supply of drugs and materials to close the gap. Furthermore, Andrea and her fellow team members are trying to get the doctors interested in the idea of learning and teaching on the job—something they haven’t had access to in a long time. “It seems a little bit of a foreign idea to them to do work and do some training and some teaching. But for us coming from hospitals […] in Australia and Germany and the UK, that’s integrated into what we’re used to. You come to work but it’s pretty common to do a training session for an hour, or to have mandatory lectures in your week; and that’s how you continue to develop your professional skills and maintain your practice in line with current research and world standards.” While some might view bringing back foreign medical staff to Libya as a way to solve its healthcare crisis, Andrea disagrees. “There are definitely Libyan staff who are interested in learning and who want to upskill,” she says. “The short-term solution would be to bring staff from other countries to work here again.”
While Al Marj is safely tucked away from all the fighting in areas like Benghazi, in recent months, attacks on health facilities in Libya have been taking place and increasing in scale and frequency. In February, four people were killed when an air strike hit a hospital in the eastern Libyan town of Derna. In June, Benghazi’s main hospital and three other health facilities were targeted by bomb blasts, rockets, grenades and car bombs in the space of five days. These attacks have done little to faze Andrea and the MSF. “You just can’t wait for a health care system to collapse and then go ‘Okay we’ll do what we usually do’,” Andrea says. “We have to figure out a way to take systems that are breaking and take hospitals that are starting to struggle and help to show them how to keep going with what they’ve got rather than waiting for them to collapse and then just intervene when things are a bit too late.”
“The reason we
identif[ied] the maternity unit as the place to work with is that it’s often the women and children who suffer the most when there is conflict
T R A PHOTO: MAT THEW JAMES | HA LO NG BAY
V E L
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FROM THE RIVERS OF HANOI TO THE TEMPLES OF HOI A by Ant hea Yan g
Photo: Hoi An | By Matthew James
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Hanoi: The heart, the flame, the capital. A seamless blend of the old with the new; tradition dipped in fireworks, slogan tees and blue hair dye. New museums housing old history. New uniforms smoked in old fire. New life paying their respects to old ones. Amidst the commotion lay open spaces where incense wisps from temple to temple, temple to garden. The green breaks open and a breath of fresh air fills your lungs.Â Beneath the surface, there is always more: hands reaching up to catch light.
Ho Chi Minh City: A city of lights that guides you through the darkest of hours. Formerly known as Saigon. Formerly occupied by war. Wild and roaring, the concrete jungle finds itself in the heart of South Vietnam, where power lines drizzle the night sky and buildings tell a history in French. The bustle here pushes the calm into temples. And just out of town, the quiet lives in harmony with hope. With the lapping of water against homes with wooden legs. Above land, dogs run around panting, motorbikes sit in congestion,Â people cut through coconuts. Below land, tunnels run deep with what came before and what will not go forgotten.
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Above Photo: Ho Chi Minh City
Bottom Photo: Hanoi
Hoi An: The sky fades into the softest of colours before turning into night. When the day sleeps, the market stalls awake; lanterns line the path & light floats on water. The warm glow flows into the next day. And the next. And the next. 20km North of the city sits Kim, Thuy, Moc, Hoa & Tho. The five elements translated into a cluster of five hills they call Marble Mountain. In them, sunlight flies through the cracks. And you bring this warmth home with you.Â
AVENOIR ISSUE #2 Above: Hoi An
PHO TO BY MAS O N DEVINE | HIDEO US S UN DEMO N @ WAMFES T GANG OF YO U THS | PHO T O BY MAS O N DEVINE
M U S I C
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AVENOIR MUSIC GALLERY OF 2016
CHRIS DAVIES When covered our first big stage acts [Tame Impala, Florence and the Machine and a shoutout from the Rudimentals] in less than a year of existence, we knew the only way was up with our talented photographers here at Avenoir. Whether it’s Action Bronson raising the roof with sweat and tears at the Villa to Flume electrifying the masses with his energetic beats at the Perth Arena, our photographs exude with memorable nostalgia.
TASH SULTANA @ JACK RABBIT SLIMS PHOTO BY CHRIS KER R
AVENOIR ISSUE #2 PHOTOS BY MATTHEW JAMES TOP LEFT: ASAP R OCKY @ METR O CITY TOP RIGHT: DAN N Y BR OW N @ GR OOVIN THE MOO FESTIVAL PHOTO BY MASON DEVINE BOTT OM: LITTLE SIMZ @ PIAF IN TER NATIONAL AR TS FEST
TEIJ @ JIMMYâ€™ S DEN
AVENOIR PHOTOS BY CHRIS DAVIES T OP LEFT : ODES ZA @ MET R O CIT Y T OP RIGHT: REMI @ JACK RABBIT SLIMS BOTTOM: CLIEN T LIAIS O N @ MOJO â€™S
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H AT E I T O R LO V E I T
T h e D ow n s i d e o f Fa m e by Calogero Algeri
I donâ€™t think I can remember a week without Kanye West making headlines. For some reason or another, the guy is constantly doing something controversial or ground-breaking, musically or otherwise. Yet his recent meltdown which led to his week-long hospitalisation brought with it an epiphany on the behavioural trends of music fans worldwide. Nowadays any musician that seemingly stirs the proverbial pot, a characteristic integral to any art VINCE STAPLES @ PER TH ARENA | BY CALLUM JO NES
form, endures a constant cycle of success, backlash, retribution and further scrutiny. Why do we bash artists to the point where they hit a climactic peripetea of mental instability and their fame implodes? Kanye’s breakdown, while not solely attributed to public pressure, was only worsened by the immediate backlash that he received following his onstage rant and tour cancellation. Did those Sacramento fans who were screaming “Fuck you Kanye” ignore the fact that only minutes before he had given them one of the most emotional and long-awaited reunions between himself and Kid Cudi onstage? It all seems like a bit of hypocrisy on the fans’ end – only 3 years prior you could argue that if you weren’t privy to a drawn out speech at a Kanye West concert over stretched chords of “Runaway” then did you even really go? We can’t knock Kanye for being outlandish when this same outlook is what gifts us with trailblazing content which we gobble up faster than you can say “George Bush doesn’t care about black people”. Yet of course the dragging of celebrities behind the social chariot is nothing new and Kanye is not an isolated case by any means. Kid Cudi’s career for one has fell victim to the same phenomenon. While questions about Cudi’s mental state can be dated back to a very early point of his career, it is evident that a degree of his mental deterioration can be linked to the constant backlash he has received over his acutely fluctuating career. After dropping two successful albums in Man on The Moon: The End of Day and MOTM II: The Legend of Mr Rager, Cudi’s experimentation with psychedelic and punk rock sounds left a large proportion of his fanbase turning on him. Until recently, Cudi has often been bashed for his musical pursuits, however what fans should remember in situations like these is that the ambition and confidence to dabble in new sonic concepts is what leads to the breakthroughs in musical trends and evolution. After all, Cudi can be attributed with propagating the introspective content that is littered
throughout mainstream hip-hop today. From these two examples alone, the thought quickly comes to light that maybe the mental health of artists shouldn’t be put to question and maybe our mindset and attitude towards these artists should. So what is the reason we bash artists in the first place? Arguably, this can be denoted to two main reasons: 1) We don’t enjoy their musical style and/or disagree with the sentiments portrayed in their music, or 2) We do agree with the sentiment within their music but don’t wish to publically align with these sentiments. The latter of these has become increasingly common, especially within rap circles in the last decade or so as the content has become increasingly “soft”. Thanks Drake. Whilst music is a universal experience that brings collective thoughts together artistically, it is also deeply personal, having the ability to emotionally resonate with a listener and reflect their beliefs and social stances. In this way, a lot about a person can be determined by the music they listen to. After all, this is one of the most intrinsic reasons for there being different genres of music in the first place. Perhaps many of us are less inclined to fully express our love for an artist in fear that it will display more about ourselves than we wish to portray to the wider community. And perhaps it’s easier to bash an artist publically or online as a shielding mechanism to mask aspects of yourself that are reflected in their music - like an ostrich sticking its head into the emotionally dry sands of the internet. In a world of trolls, it’s often impossible to know exactly what people stand for on the internet anymore. Jay-Z is one artist who has seemingly avoided falling victim to the often fickle nature of fans, discussing the phenomenon in detail in the song
“Most Kingz” and his 2010 book titled Decoded. The song details the tribulations that fame brings with it, a view reflected by the Basquiat-inspired central line of the song, “most kings get their head cut off”. Hov outlines the capriciousness of his fans within a single line of the song, rapping, “Build me up, break me down to build me up again. They like ‘Hov we need you back so we can kill your ass again”’. Perhaps it’s this ability to observe the pitfalls of fame from an external perspective while living within its confines that is the key to longevity in the game. The brashly honest Vince Staples presents another example of an artist’s endeavour to navigate the winding path of fame. On his most recent EP, Prima Donna, and accompanying short film of the same name, Staples illustrates his bouts with paranoia and depression that fame has birthed. Coming from someone who appears on the surface level to be so impervious to the views of others (just watch any of his interviews), these admissions regarding the double-sided sword that is fame should be viewed with heightened severity. This brings us full circle to the recent events involving the larger than life figure that is Kanye West; the fact that fans, the media, society – whatever you wish to call it – have caused the most chest-puffing artist of our generation to reach a point of critical mass, should act as a stark reminder that these are just people after all. Rather than approach musicians with intense critique and judgement, maybe acknowledging the inherent imperfect aspect of their human nature and truly appreciating their triumphs will reduce the pressure and paranoia they endure, and enable them to freely express themselves to deliver their most authentic, unfiltered content. We will all be better for it.
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Jo u r n ey i nto C ha ra c te r T he o r WITH NELSON MONDLANE OF POW! NEGRO by Za erë n Mo m an d
Nelson Mondlane, the lead MC of the energy enthralled power group POW! Negro discusses with Avenoir the importance of stage presence and the energy that exudes the inner psyche. Having supported Sampa the Great, Remi, and taking on Southbound, how has the journey of POW Negro came about? So initially I was asked to do a solo rap set at Mojos for Hustle Hustle. We used to play in this band called Casual Sets, which is how Koi Child started. And one of my good friends from high school Rhys was like ‘man you should get a band together’. We had a week to make a set, and like if we fucked it up I don’t think I would be asked to play again. So we got some friends together, made a set in a week, played our first gig and we just got asked from there. It’s been more than a year now so it’s been pretty crazy for everything to happen so quickly
Considering the name of your band, is it a way sense of pride and power? Would you call it Afr Yeah, definitely. The way we see it is that POW is a character. Like, I’m a mixed race kid. So my Mozambique and my mum is Caucasian Austr Living around my dad’s family and friends ther music and culture that we have. It’s either we’re from Africa or we kind of have to make our ow lot of the music and influence that is prevalent and Australian society, you know American mu English music, doesn’t quite have the same co doesn’t speak to me about troubles that I’ve be and if it does I feel like it’s not enough to be ta for a mainstream audience, or people like myse And by expressing my experiences I hope peop vibe or find solace and power and to be acknow having similarities in a story. It is the experienc Negro goes through. The music is like the worl
to display a ropunk? W Negro y dad is ralian. re’s all this e taking wn, and a t in Perth usic or like onnection. It een through, alked about elf to hear. ple can wledged in ce that POW ld POW
PHO T O S : CALLUM JO NES | PO W NEGRO @ WAMFES T
Negro inhabits. I feel POW Negro is the personification of the spoken word of that journey in the story. According to Triple J Unearthed, your aggressive vocal style “falls somewhere between the energetic bounces of Zack de la Rocha and the funk come street verses of Mos Def”, would you consider them your influences? Would you extend yourself politically as they do and would you align POW Negro to a movement? To begin with, I do listen to both of those artists, they’re not my go-to artists or top of my list. But definitely Mos Def in the way he can tell a story in good rhyme schemes and flow. Zack de la Rocha’s energy is something that I respect a lot and when people say that we rage in that sense I find that very complementary. It’s good to have energy on stage. In terms of being political, like I’m educated reasonably, I think it’s more in terms of politicism, like its something that I think if that’s the way the music comes out then that’s what it will be but we aren’t aiming to really politicize. But there are things to say about that which becomes politically charged. It’s more about bringing people together, but the way I see it I aim to bring people together in one place. It doesn’t often feel that lots of people get to be in a place where they experience something together that is meaningful. Parties are great, but everyone is kind of scattered and doing their own thing. If the right people play at music events understand they have the power then there’s so much we could do to change things. Music is making people aware and as well to pose questions. It doesn’t have to be mind-changing but it’s good to have everyone in one place and to experience a catharsis where people can acknowledge what’s happening around us. One of Fela Kuti’s famous quotes refers to using music as a weapon. What is your way of using music to combat or bring awareness to? By bringing energy. As performers, we have to make the message that what we are presenting is as accessible, like pop music. You hear pop songs that are pretty powerful like in the way they get stuck in your head over
and over again till eventually you’re to realize what the person is saying. Like you saying something really deep but is easy to digest. So by the time you’re singing the tune you’re almost conned into the message, almost as though you’re happy to be conned into it, because it’s so good. I feel music is a powerful weapon. Energy carries good intentions and can be more so infectious. There has been some aggressive stuff that I’ve seen and heard that I wouldn’t exactly align with. What do you find aggressive? Like Death Grips. MC Ride says stuff I wouldn’t do or agree with. See, he has such passion behind what he’s saying that you could end up thinking in the same vein or experience the same way as him. It’s cathartic and powerful because it’s raw, and sometimes you don’t want to hear it but you need to because it’s something that we need to really acknowledge. What would you want to be acknowledged? I would say that people need to express themselves more. And I want to take them on a journey. There’s some things that are said that resonates and people don’t feel as alone. Our latest single release is a song I wrote in the perspective of anxiety, like it were a person or creature. It is kind of like a voice in my head that is always there and sometimes you could hold it back and shove it in a box for a good while, but every now and then it sneaks its way out and fucks with you. For me, just to write about that is cathartic for myself to begin with. For me to acknowledge that in myself I could start to think about shutting those things away, and to a degree those things serve a purpose. And not that you should give into those things, but to show people a way through it. Though not acknowledging the anxiety or depression can be detrimental, you’d have to think why they [anxiety, depression] are there. If you manage to get around them, then you feel better. Is location the most important went it comes to POW Negro’s sound? Like a lot of the issues that are happening in, for
example America, wouldn’t be happening here. Like I’m in a particular place at a particular time. If I’m making art I might as well make it about the place and time I’m in, or otherwise it’s not relevant. I want to enrich people’s lives as much as I can and music seems to work in making people come together and enjoy themselves. If they’re learning then they’re learning in an enjoyable and positive way. We’ve been really lucky in the sense that there’s been a pretty strong hip hop scene before us. Like Koi Child set the stage and Downsyde haven’t been active for quite a while, but Koi Child would be the next gen and we came up soon after them. With venues in Perth - J Shed was great, Jack Rabbits was pretty cool, Mojo’s is always really great but just a bit small. Rosemount would be one of my favourite places. In reference to the days of Nirvana, if it wasn’t for the audience Nirvana wouldn’t have gotten where they were, like they say it takes two to tango - so how have the venues in Perth reciprocated your energy in the jazz/hip-hop fusion genre? We’ve been really lucky, but there have been a few places where they haven’t reciprocated - usually when the crowds are a bit older. Like when we went to Dunsburough one time and a lady came up and asked us to stop playing. It was a festival that we got asked to perform and we were like the last band playing in this little mini festival. It was hilarious because she was like ‘I’m trying to eat my food and you’re making all this noise” [laughs] well she came to a festival and it was like she couldn’t have chose a better time to say that because we only had one song left to play and the chorus was ‘Young Motherfuckers’.... and it was about generational divide of people and how every generation thinks the next generation are just fucking it up, got no brains and have no respect for anything and just destroying all the things and all the foundations that they laid. So that was the next song and she literally was the personification of what we sung about, and the audience just lost their shit when we started playing
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and were on the floor laughing and people just jumped up and started dancing hell hard. And I felt so, so sorry for the lady. But I think I craftily put her in her place. Also, another one of our songs called Money for Portraits I’d like to mention is more about being a young band in the music industry and how the industry is revved up to be this big cash cow. Like the early months of our formation as a band there have been a lot of people saying that we’re doing a good job but that we need to be careful not to fuck around in the industry, and how there’s a lot of sharks in record labels and so forth. The song is all about being aware that you are being lured by such temptations but still be able to pull back. What you’re saying reminds me of Cypress Hill’s Rock Superstar Yeah basically [laughs]. But in the song the first half is about money being this seductive woman trying to get you into bed with the promise that it will give you all these things that you think you need and realize that you’re trying to keep a level-head, but you’re already being pulled under and resurfacing with the mentality of ‘fuck it I’m just going to do it all and go real hard and I’m gonna get all the girls and all the drugs and I’m just gonna fuck it cuz everyone is doing it and its gonna be great’, and you can’t blame people for doing it because it’s so alluring and the people who make that music it’s intoxicating, but at the same time it’s not us - it’s not real. As a lyrical MC in the jazz/hip-hop fusion genre has it ever came to a point where it has become limiting for you? Or is it a genre that would push you [Pow! Negro] forward? We were lucky in the sense that all the people in the band share core tastes, or have very different styles and approaches in doing things and it ranges across a lot of genres. Like any one person can bring a song to the table and it would have their main input - whether it’d be heavy rock or jazz or electronic or funk or psychedelia or hip hop.
Though I would definitely say jazz and hip-hop would be a strong element that we make, but I definitely don’t think it’ll define it. I mean, we’re not exactly properly trained jazz musicians so I don’t know if it’ll define our sound in the years to come. The thing about jazz it can be so free-falling and unpredictable.
and to better understand their motivation and the reason why they do things. And that can be quite confronting. Especially if you go too deep and don’t have a way of coming out.
Will you still be keeping the hip hop element?
Yeah like MF Doom is a classic example. When you’re on stage someone questions: how much of you is on stage, or how much is of the character? Like, I don’t really know. Mostly it’s the character but there’s always moments where I’m there for a minute but then there’s a character again. You can bear your soul but like that’s incredibly raw. Like Heath Ledger bared his soul for the Joker. But he died. Everyone agrees that was the best performance, but like was it worth it for him to die? What does it tell us? It’s not like I’m going to do anything to that degree [laughs] but for the musicians to be themselves 100% it’s a really raw thing. You have to have some sort of armor for your own sanity to come back as the person you are, but you’re doing stuff for other people always. Maybe that’s the point! To make them see that people can get to that extent.
As a vocalist I feel it’s a very powerful way to express stories. To be honest, compared to the Western World, Perth doesn’t have a huge hip-hop scene anymore. It’s scary sometimes with the scene because they might be like ‘aw man he isn’t putting in as much work’ like all the other places like America with all the movements where they live and breath hip-hop and where it is originally from. Like they go hard, like so hard. I feel like if we went to America they’d be like ‘what the fuck is this like you guys think you’re rappers? Like get the fuck out of here you don’t know how to rap’ [laughs]. For us it’s not a competition, all we want to be is proud of what we’ve made and be happy that we could make music that we like, that’s our main aim. So you also do theatre, do you feel theatre has strengthened your stage performance as a musician? My dad was a performer and my mum was close friends with actors so it was already an influence for me to get into theatre. To be able to be different characters, bringing stories and inhabiting other people’s psyches I found it to be cathartic for me. I would definitely not do what I do on stage if I haven’t done acting. It has given me so much technique, in terms of vocals, like warming up. There’s such a massive variety of theorists in music and in theatre, and I have tried out lots of different practices from lots of movement theorists, character theorists to see how it’d influence my performance. So while rapping, whatever you’re saying it has to be spoken with vigor, it has to draw the people in. Just like in theatre. It has helped me to empathize with people and characters
So basically you see theatre and music is like another portal to the psyche
This year was a pretty hectic year for everyone, both culturally and politically, what event would you say had affected you the most? The Roe 8 highway that was happening in the Beeliar Wetlands in the South of Fremantle. It’s been going on for a year that they’ve been planning to do it. They’re basically bulldozing through these wetlands to create a big highway for the trucks to go through to the Fremantle port. The roads that they are making is going through the wetlands inhabiting unique wildlife and Indigenous heritage Similar to Standing Rock? Yeah pretty much. Like there’s all these other routes that won’t affect these areas. However, they’re refusing because they’re seeing it as a quicker route and those involved don’t give a fuck about what they’re ploughing through
because of money. In the end of the day, the Fremantle port has a max ten more years left in it before either side of Fremantle becomes bigger. The cargo that the roads are being built for won’t even be going along it anymore because it will be going to Kwinana. To have this massive road destroy the whole lot for no reason is just pointless. In the long run, if they got rid of the port in Fremantle and redevelop it into a shopping centre or housing it will be a liveable place that is going to make more money. It’s monopolizing the shipping industry that is run by certain people who will be making a lot of money. There has been a lot of public outcry, especially those who live in the area though the protests aren’t as violent. We would align ourselves with environmentalism, PLANET MAN [laughs]. I think the music that we have made has been self-focused, instead of covering issues such as that. I always find a fine line between being preachy and self-righteous. Reflecting back to characters in musical performance, in reference to Kendrick Lamar, when he makes a party song he also tries to reveal a deeper message - what is your view on the way he performs and the message he’s trying to persuade? Kendrick Lamar is in my mind the shining star of performing, but like he does it in a way that is more studio-oriented. His characters are the characters that sit in your ears. Swimming Pools is one of those Heath Ledger examples. It’s amazing because he’s making the most turn’t party song but he is critiquing what it is to be in that situation - getting drunk and having that voice in your head ‘alright listen to me man, imma take you to victory, we’re gonna get fucked up man, you’re gonna take that shot because that’s what you do’. I know what that’s like, and so many people know what that’s like.
It has helped me to
empathize with people and characters and to better understand their motivation and the reason why they do things. And that can be quite confronting. Especially if you go too deep and don’t have a way of coming out
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B A N D F E AT U R E PINEGROVE
by Sa m Sto pfo rt h
I first came across Pinegrove when a friend shared an unassuming video on Facebook of two members playing a live version of their song “New Friends (Schuylkill Sessions).” I thought it was all right, the vocalist’s guitar playing, appearance, voice and general vibe intrigued me but not enough for me to further pursue them in any way.
have picked it judging from the infectious wall of sound these musicians produced. Although the original studio versions are still great, I found that with the added live performance energy these songs just kick into another gear and almost take on another buzzing rhythm entirely - that is both clever and a breath of fresh air.
The second time I stumbled upon them was by complete chance (about two weeks later) when a recommended video popped up in my side bar on YouTube. This was their live set they performed for Audio Tree live lasting just over 40 minutes and including 3 tunes from their debut album Cardinal (Cadmium [my fav] , Size Of The Moon & Aphasia), as well as 5 other previously released bangers. This live performance was published on the 27th of May, about a month before they released Cardinal on the 12th of June literally the day before I found their Audio Tree Live video… It felt like the universe was throwing me a bone. This video blew me away and to this day is my favourite live musical performance I have found on the Internet; not just this year but in a long long time… the conviction, skill and musical tenacity of every member is amazing to witness. Usually they are a six piece but you would never
The added bonus of not just listening but watching these musicians perform is also an absolute joy. They are extremely tight, have an Indie/Emo/Rock sound with a hint of Americana that is all their own, and they’re mid set banter ain’t half bad either. Evan Stephens Hall’s voice and melody choices are captivating and rich with emotion while also retaining a poignant introspective lyricism that will leave you singing and thinking long after the record finishes. I would say he almost has a conversational quality to his writing – and given his abundantly eclectic vocabulary this is very impressive. The other principal songwriter (in an ever-changing line up) is Zac Levine who is masterful on the drums, able to change a songs direction within a fraction of a second and always keeping the listener on their toes. You can also find on their Band Camp a compilation
album named Everything So Far which contains all of their released music that they have put out to date, including a couple of earlier recorded versions of tunes found on both Cardinal and the Audio Tree Live performance. You can download this for free at your hearts desire. All of these releases by the band have garnered a ridiculous amount of supporters on Band Camp. Each of these supporters leaving long heart felt reviews that read as very genuine, they all seem to be just as into this band as I am. Two standouts on the Cardinal record that you cannot find anywhere else are Old Friends (absolute banger) and Visiting, but Waveform is also lovely. Pinegrove are from Mont Clair, New Jersey – a small town located about a 40-minute drive from New York City. The band began making music together in 2010 but only now are really starting to garner the attention they deserve, they were signed to Run For Cover records in 2015, they have toured the US, Canada and the UK a number of times and their following is only growing stronger by the day. Look out as they begin to take over the world in the coming years, let’s just hope they make it out to Australia soon.
MUSIC VIDEO SELECTION
by Pat r i ck McCart hy
words by Brandon Chiseko
SOLANGE KNOWLES D o n ’ t To u c h M y H a i r
A N D E R S O N PA A K Malibu
CLIENT LIAISON Diplomatic Immunity
The sole non-Australian artist on this list is also, in my fair and humble opinion, the master behind 2016’s best music album. Paak’s frighteningly groovy California neo-soul is one for the ages. Alternately smooth and furious, boppin’ and heartfelt, euphoric and devastating, his intensely infectious dance beats, lyrical wealth and diverse instrumental range emphatically created a hiphop/R&B masterpiece that rivals Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly” as the decade’s best of the genre.
Melbourne duo Monte Morgan and Harvey Miller teased their genius to us with a slight but brilliant EP released back in 2014, but I don’t think anyone could have expected the visionary 80s-themed indie-electronic hybrid their first full-length album ended up being. Effervescently upbeat, delightfully camp and groovy as all hell, Liaison’s debut was the purest dance-floor filler released this entire year.
TOP TRACKS: Am I Wrong, Come Down, The Bird
TOP TRACKS: Wild Life, Home, World of Our Love
The videography on “Don’t Touch My Hair” perfectly glued together the strong themes of empowered identity that drove the album. By using tastefully selected locations, blissful scenes of men and women dancing in earth tone robes and using only black performers to empower women of colour while encourage respect for their natural qualities.
FRANK OCEAN NIKE’S
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD
Easily the most prolific band in Australia, newly coronated kings of psychedelia Gizzard have knocked it out of the park yet again with their eighth full-length album in half as many years. Wildly energetic performances bolstered by hilariously quirky lyrics and a keen eye for experimentation, “Infinity” and its promotional tours exhibited some of the purest, most explosive musical experiences of the entire year.
Utterly self-created, produced and sustained, oneman show Oliver Hugh Perry’s undeniably unique musical vision is nothing short of hypnotic. Beautiful melodies and soulful vocals fuse together with surreal sounds and highly textured arrangements to create an incredibly inventive sound that has deservedly earned him plaudits and fans galore. A contemporary Australian treasure, and quite possibly a legend in the making.
TOP TRACKS: Robot Stop, Gamma Knife, Evil Death Roll
TOP TRACKS: Walrus, Satan, Oyster
Following his mysterious disappearance after the release of Grammy Award winning project Channel Orange, his enigmatic behaviour turned him into a cultural icon through the power of social media - driving ‘Nikes’ video to major success. The video projects powerful messages about the music industry to Ocean’s life in the years after Channel Orange. He makes clever references to the social and cultural shifts during his brief hiatus - a montage of imagery displaying diversity coercing with sexuality.
T H E A
PHO T O S BY CHRIS KER R | CAT S MUSICAL @ CROWN THEAT RE
A T R E
AVENOIR ISSUE #2
2016 THEATRE RECAP by Tara Sid e b ot to m
PHOTO BY CANDACE N O T TE
What a year 2016 has been for Perth Theatre. From the big guns performing on the largest stage in town to the local theatre groups punching out another hit musical, it has been a year of success. I hate to say that after every show I watched I thought “this is the show of the year” only to be amazed by something new a few weeks later. It’s not that there was a gradual build in talent, it’s that 2016 has brought the weird and the wonderful to Perth theatres and each experience has brought something new for audiences to savour. The hard work and dedication of theatre companies across Australia have paid off this year and I’m excited to see what they can produce in the new year.
old favourites and new surprising hits to entertain us, musicals have been the most popular events this year. Here is a few of my favourite numbers from this year!
From Cats to Georgy Girl, show tunes have become stuck in our heads. With
“Welcome to Jackson” Campbell first day at a school without cliques and without
Prologue: Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats — Cats The greeting from the Cats explaining exactly what ‘Jellicle Cat’ means and demonstrating their finesse and grace. “Feline, fearless, faithful and true to others who do what Jellicles do and Jellicles can” Do Your Own Thing —Bring it On
“I pay more, how much, how much?”
“I ain’t following you, do what you gotta do. Do your own thing.”
Feed Me (Git it!) — Little Shop of Horrors
The Internet is for Porn— Avenue Q
The moment the blood drinking plant opens his mouth, startling Seymour, and demands to be fed.
The boys step in on Kate Monster’s lesson planning about the internet.
“If I can talk, and I can move, who’s to say I can’t do anything I want?”
“You can research browse and shop, until you’ve had enough and your ready to stop…” “For Porn!” Are You a Believer? — Ghost Oda Mae’s hilarious introduction as a fraud psychic is soon swept out the window with her meeting with Sam’s ghost. “The pain, the effort…”
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GHOST the Musical @ Crown | Allison Read
T H E R I S E O F T H E AT R E A DA P TAT I O N S : I S T H E AT R E L O S I N G I T S O R I G I N A L I T Y ? by Mika ela Zari f is
Originality is a fickle thing. Its been said for many years now that anything original has already been written and everything else has its roots drawn from somebody else’s work. So, what counts as original? Is originality just coming up with something unheard of? Alternatively, can it be seen as taking something that already exists, and redoing it with a twist that completely changes it and sets it apart from the original? For example, when recreating a classic using an existing script, there’s still originality in aspects such as set design, costuming and even just the actor’s takes on the character. Is that enough to be original? In recent years, we have seen a rising trend of films being turned into musicals, though this particular trend has been around for a long time, with musicals like The Sound of Music, Singin’ in the Rain, and Hairspray transforming from classic stage hits to being released on screen. Now I personally don’t find these shows as “original” as others because they are simply transferring a popular story from one medium to another. However, that act in itself does require quite a bit of ingenuity. They have to figure out how to transfer something people are familiar with to the stage, which in itself can be seen as changing the show from the original. Take The Lion King for example, a lot of the songs in the musical are the ones we all grew up singing from the original Disney film, though they also included some that Disney considered too dark for a children’s film. So technically it fits in with the aforementioned shows, however, they have also included the twist of infusing the show with more African culture, and they had to figure out how to transform their actors into lions. The final result was
mesmerising. Does that not in turn make this an original take on the story? But then you have shows like Wicked, Cats, and Matilda, which are somewhat more “original” as they are based from books. So when the writer, director and composer got together they had to completely rework this story from a different medium so that it would suit the stage, creating songs that didn’t exist before they wrote them. Which is astounding, as they also had to figure out at what points a song would fit, and create whole dance numbers. Even Shakespeare himself wasn’t as original as we might think. Its been discovered that only two of his thirty six plays were his own completely original works, those two were The Tempest and Love’s Labour’s Lost. The rest are recognised as being adapted wholly or partly from other sources including history, and other playwrights who were his peers. Then there is local theatre; where so many are striving to come up with original stage musicals, by drawing from their lives, their imagination, their desires. I’ve seen superhero musicals; I’ve seen a one man show where he details the stories of his depression, using a puppet to portray his inner voice. I’ve seen a spectacular musical Werewolf Priest, about you guessed it a priest who is turned into a werewolf, but the musical was amazing, from the songs, to the almost B-Grade horror special effects and makeup. It was truly incredible. But the sad thing is, local and small-scale theatre like this, which strives for originality, doesn’t always get the credit and attention it should. And it’s a once in a lifetime experience, because usually after its initial run, it doesn’t get another.
So, what does this mean for the originality of theatre? Well some have implied that theatre writing that is heavily reliant on adaptations can be stifling for the writer and inhibits them from being able to write their own original works. Whilst others believe that when adapting a novel to the stage, the playwright can learn essential skills that they can then transfer to their own work. I would like to believe in the latter, especially because adapting a novel to the stage does take quite a bit of ingenuity and originality. As for the future of theatre, well I think that this rising trend of adapted theatre means that we are getting to see beloved stories in a whole new light. And if theatre companies want to create things that have characters the audiences recognise and identify with so that they can bring people to the show, is that an inherently bad thing? Some people are almost afraid of the theatre; it can make them uncomfortable being ‘seen’ by those on the stage, especially if there is a hint of audience participation. By reusing characters that are beloved and well-known but giving the story a little twist, it means that people can feel more at ease, they feel like they know what they can expect. And besides, if the Bard himself felt the need to borrow ideas from others, then maybe there really are no original stories left.
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C U R TA I N C A L L 2 0 1 7 U P C O M I N G T H E AT R E & P E R F O R M I N G A R T S AUSTRALIAN TOURS by Roma Christian
In the realm of theatre and performing arts, see what notable productions we anticipate enjoying next year, as they make their nationwide rounds.
for an equally impressive stage play. With litres of live action water spilt on the stage floor, front section audiences are likely to ‘feel the rain’ also. [Concluding January 1st - 22nd]
After what feels like a deeply rich and diverse year in the realm of theatre and performing arts, we can’t help but imagine what lies ahead for 2017. Here’s a snippet of what’s planned, as we reveal what we’re most looking forward to.
Velvet (ft. Marcia Hines) A cabaret and circus disco show featuring Marcia Hines, touring as part of Australian Fringe Festival shows. A previous sell-out success, inclusive of Edinburgh Fringe, Brisbane Festival & Sydney Opera House. [Commencing January 20th]
JANUARY Singin in the Rain (ft. Rohan Brown, Grant Almirall, Gretel Scarlett, Jack Chambers and Erika Heynatz) The world renowned movie makes
Barbu The world-renowned Canadian ‘circus’ production, amplified with cheek and raucous entertainment. Titled ‘THE rave party of Summer’. Produced by
Singin’ in the Rain | Lindsey Kearn
one of ‘the world’s greatest circus companies’ [Cirque Alfonse], the Sydney Opera House stated it provided ‘a belly-full of cheeky humour, with brazen eccentricty’, all whilst ‘supported by an electro-trad soundtrack, and a skilful yet frenetic live band’. [Commencing January 20th] Room on the Broom A delight for families and younger children (or those older Gen Y’s feeling a touch nostalgic) this production is based on the Julia Donaldson book of the same name. Brought to life by the same production company behind ‘Snugglepot & Cuddlepie’. [Commencing January 27th]
as you encover fossils, or enjoy a stage show of ‘mammoth’ proportions? The list goes on of what you could get up to. [Commencing March 31st] TOSCA With it’s own local cast in each state, Opera Australia graces the nation with ‘Tosca’, a production that focuses on themes of love, revenge, violence and betrayal. The production hails its central message of ‘the banality of everyday evil’. Including a man hunt, an interrogation, and a safe passage where he realises “she’s his”, “his upper lip readies himself for Tosca’s kiss... doesn’t see the knife glinting behind her back” - [Opera Australia]. [Commences March 28th]
51 JULY Merry Widow Endorsed by Opera Australia, each state will host its own cast. Set in the surrounds of Art Deco France, the production is a ‘light-hearted look at love, surrounded by champagne and glitter’. The production brings to life ballrooms filled with ladies in silk fishtail gowns, and dapped men in suits and patent leather shoes. It features a widow and heiress to a city’s fortune, as they seek marry her off to a local suitor, not recognising the history and mystery before them. [Commencing July 15th] AUGUST
FEBRUARY MAY Ludovico Einaudi The globally loved, and acclaimed Italian composer and pianist Ludovico Einaudi will return to Australian shores with the release of his highly anticipated album ‘Elements’. The chart topper that he is, often leaves one feeling emotions they didn’t know they were capable of. Featuring tracks intertwining piano, string and percussion, in beautiful buildings throughout Australia. [Commencing February 13th] MARCH Jurassic Creatures Ready to step back into time with an adventure through the prehistoric ice age? Get up close and personal, as you brush up against mammoths, sabertooth tigers and the tyrannosaurus rex. An interactive event that will entertain parents, children, and older ‘young at hearts’. Be a paleontologist for a day
The Play that Goes Wrong (ft. Brooke Satchwell, Darcy Brown, Francine Caine, Adam Dunn & James Marlowe) Let’s type some awards here, detailing the level of acclaim this production has received. Winner of ‘Best New Comedy - London’s Olivier Awards 2015’, ‘Broadway World UK Award 2015’, ‘Whatsonstage.com Award Winner 2014’, and playing on Broadway next year... the list goes on. The recipient of five star reviews, and playing to packed audiences at London’s West End. The play surrounds an upcoming theatre group [‘The Polytechnic Drama Society’] as they attempt to put on a 1920’s murder mystery, however as the title suggests, what can go wrong does. “Guaranteed to leave you aching with laughter” - [The Daily Mail]. [Commences May 31st]
1984 We’ve all read the book in English class, and we’re familiar with the literary legacy left by George Orwell. It’s almost a must-see in that alone, as the world famous book comes to life in the stage play. A critically acclaimed production hosted by Headlong [labelled ‘British theatre innovators’], Almeida Theatre & Nottingham Playhouse, it has enjoyed three hugely successful seasons in the West End with extensive UK & USA touring also. The show will come to Australia featuring a brand new Australian cast. We hope we’ve caused your theatrical taste buds to salivate in anticipation of enjoying these carefully curated shows. It’s only a shame we’ll have to wait till next year. Perhaps that makes it sweeter. (Dates are West Australia based) For all ticket sales and further information, feel welcome to visit the relevant show websites.
F A S H I O N ARTWORK BY RAHALIE MCGUIRK
AVENOIR ISSUE #2
PHOT OS: MARK PIASECKI ST YLIST : VILASINI VIEL
MAKEU P : EMILY MCCARTHY
STYLISTâ€™S head scarf and earrings GRIM RAG Vintage Burberry Shirt
AVENOIR ISSUE #2 THIS PAGE: GALA APPAREL shorts, $30 GALA APPAREL white crop, $40 Stylist’s striped crop and shoes OPPOSITE: GALA APPAREL American crop, $40 GOOD SAMMY’S trousers $6
TOPSHOP metallic strappy mini ALEXJUSTSPAT: black studded cross harness, O-ring choker (on arm), black glitter suspenders STYLIST’S grunge boots, earrings, necklace (worn as bracelet), sunglasses
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TOPSHOP Pettit crinkle twist dress ALEXJUSTSPAT: ‘Never’ mint Choker
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A C U LT
f ro m Af g ha n i s AN INTERVIEW
by Za erë n Mom an d
You recently went on your trip to Afghanistan, was there particular experience(s) you felt to be eyeopening for you? It was great to be back in my beautiful city Kabul. But it also did not feel like I belonged either. Because life in Kabul was totally different than I expected. I was often there to cry on how poor women and children were walking on the streets.
PHO TO OF NAWED ELIAS CULT U RE CLASH COLLECTIO N PHO TOGRAPHED BY BARBARA GERMES
There is lot of money coming into Afghanistan. The world has helped the country but still so many orphans on the street looking for food while everyone does what they want. And besides, Afghanistan is an Islamic country. Faith speaks of love and helping each other. But I have not seen in this country a faithful believer whom really speaks the truth. I have seen few faithful people share their food with a child who is dying at their feet from hunger and cold. I’ve seen little respect for humanity towards women and children. A woman was harassed multiple times on the street, do you call that Islamic?
A country or a city is not valued by its beautiful houses and cars. A city or country is only beautiful if everyone is given a chance at life and a future with children going to school and being educated. Sure, it was great to experience all this. I as a person do my best to give a contribution to humanity and to the poor children who yearn for a better future. I hope that every Afghan makes a contribution to these children. It doesn’t need to be much. You could help by giving one euro or dollar to them, and how much will that be per year? So let’s be human. We are not better than the orphans. In researching fashion history in Afghanistan, all I could find was Vogue’s coverage of Safia Tarzi. Do you feel the arts in Afghanistan lacks representation, and for what reason? Afghanistan has been years at war. People were not concerned with fashion and such things. People are very behind here. What I make is a shock for many Afghans. They do not accept it. They see it as an
U RE CL ASH
stan to t he N et herlan d s WITH NAWED ELIAS of ZAZAI DESIGN
embarrassment for their culture and Afghanistan. And in addition, people do not eat, so how can they think of fashion? People do not live safely, they live in fear. How can they think of fashion? This is the reason that the fashion world is so little and remains backwards in Afghanistan. But we must not lose hope. I am confident that one day Afghans will be recognized for their contributions in this world. And Iâ€™ll do my best to do just that. Right now, Zazai Design is also recognized in the whole of Europe and many support my work. You arrived to the Netherlands at the age of 14, did you experience any conflict when immigrating from your homeland in the East into the Western world? No. I arrived to the Netherlands at a very young age. Netherlands is like my country. I see no difference between Afghanistan and the Netherlands. I actually faced difficulties when I returned to my country. Iâ€™m not accepted as an Afghan. You are seen as a foreigner, even if you speak the same language. What do you believe Afghanistan will need to achieve to be able to go back to what it once was before the Taliban and Western forces took over? The situation of Afghanistan is very different. People are dying of hunger. There are no rules., People are fighting for their rights and they are not safe. But as human beings we can hope for a better future. A quiet and beautiful Afghanistan, without war.
Your collection Culture Clash Implements both the western style of the Netherlands with the traditional apparel of Afghanistan, what are you hoping to achieve in blending both cultures? I wanted two different worlds to be brought together. I wanted to show the beautiful and special aspects of Afghanistan. I wanted to show that Afghanistan is more than what you think. And besides, I wanted my people to get acquainted with Europe. But the clothes style would not be easily accepted in Afghanistan. So I wanted to break some taboos, I wanted to show a unique side of Europe and Afghanistan, and to show how beautiful the two cultures together are. Besides the traditional custom clothes of your Pashtun ancestry being an integral feature within your collection and design, what message do you want to send to your audience? I am a proud Pashtun. And I always try to do something for my people. But my clothing line is not prohibited by any nation. I create a collection with a story. My first collection was Culture Clash, my second collection was No Religion. Totally different. I wanted to bring two different worlds together through my first collection, and in my second collection was bringing people together of different beliefs; with the message to reduce hatred. But also break taboos.
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am confident that one day Afghans will be recognized for their contributions in this world. And I’ll do my best to do just that.