Kurds in Australia

24 March, 2010

Kurds in Australia exhibition launch
Music and dance were proudly celebrated at the launch of the Survival of a Culture: Kurds in Australia exhibition.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Music and dance – powerful symbols of survival for Victoria’s Kurdish community – were proudly celebrated at the recent launch of Survival of a Culture: Kurds in Australia, the latest community exhibition at Immigration Museum.

Kurdish people in Australia trace their origins back more than 10,000 years to Kurdistan in the Middle East. Their culture is marked by a long history of invasion and occupation, and more recently by cultural suppression and waves of displacement after their homeland was divided among Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey at the end of World War I.

The exhibition celebrates the distinctive culture of the Kurds and the ways in which the Kurdish community in Australia has revitalised their long-held traditions.

“Dancing and playing of their instruments was one way they could keep their culture alive,” said Maria Tence, community Exhibitions Manager. “The Kurdish community don’t perform to recorded music, it’s always live. If they can’t play music, they don’t perform.”

The significance of live music in keeping their culture alive has been particularly challenging. Most of the Kurdish community now live in ultra conservative countries where women have been forbidden from playing any musical instrument; and one Kurdish instrument, the daf, is not even allowed to be played by males. Its banning has turned it into a symbol of survival and struggle for the Kurdish people, and it is proudly on display in the exhibition.

The exhibition also includes traditional costumes, musical instruments, dance, poetry, tattoos, hand-made carpets, hand-woven crafts and household wares and a variety of community photographs.

“Moving to Australia has given Kurdish people the freedom to express an identity that is repressed in the countries they came from,” said Maria. “The Kurdish community in Australia is hoping that young women here will take up playing musical instruments, which women since two generations back were banned from doing.”

Survival of a Culture: Kurds in Australia is showing at Immigration Museum until 12 September.

Comments (7)

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shailendra 17 September, 2010 13:17
I want to marry a Kurdish woman. I love their culture and spirit. I am a Fijian Hindu. I am a warrior against all the world's powerful countries. I am a RAJPUT
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Sandra Kavrakoudis 12 February, 2011 21:37
I am trying to trace Pinar Ozucargil whose family live in Aubun. Pinar has been living in New Zealand but went to Australia about December 2010. I am a Kiwi but have lived in Turkey and am going there in March 2011. I will stay for 3 months in Istanbul but I may visit Adiyaman. I hope someone in Aubun knows Pinar. Best wishes/ciao!
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rina 1 April, 2011 22:44
y do u need to find her?
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marco 23 July, 2011 20:41
seek liberty and justice for all.work for a free and fair world where oppression and inequality no longer exist.
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Solin 8 April, 2012 22:00
Im just wondering if there is a large kurdish community in Melbourne?
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Discovery Centre 9 April, 2012 12:09
Hi Solin, please see our Question of the Week on the Kurdish Community for further information on statistics.
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attilla hun 26 January, 2013 03:44
3 hilal bozkurt diyecegim o kadar
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