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When Sha Sarwari first saw Max Dupain’s photograph ‘Sunbaker’ (1937), his first thought was that the man on the shore had been saved from drowning. Instead, the image was that of a man sunbathing on the sandy beaches of Australia. Sarwari wanted to place his own personal narrative as a refugee into this historical and cultural context.

Sarwari reconsiders dominant narratives of Australian identity: in this case, the beach – a site of leisure – becomes a place of landing. Sarwari’s work sheds light on the complexities and contradictions in our nation’s histories, especially for those who come from migrant backgrounds.

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