As of tomorrow, Farhad Bandesh, a Kurdish refugee has been incarcerated in Australia for eight years. He refers to this time on Manus island, as his ‘eighth prison birthday’.
The Smiling Boy – a song by Farhad – bears the same name as a poignant photograph taken in 1989. This image depicts two lines of Kurdish people, children in the foreground and adults behind. Eyes forward or staring down the barrel of the camera, they stand squashed together, chests pressed into the backs of their line neighbour as though queueing for some inane activity. Only one young boy in a small blue parker breaks the continuity by looking directly into the camera and smiling. His smile is broad and genuine, as though he recognises the photographer – as one would smile at a friend or a beloved relative. He is calm. He shows no fear. He looks happy.
It’s a sobering image when you realise that these people are being lined up to be killed by Iraqi soldiers and were marked to be buried alive shortly after the picture was taken.
The Smiling Boy by Farhad Bandesh is a protest song accompanied by an original animated film clip, created in collaboration by 9 animators from across the world, including and spear-headed by Neil Sanders – otherwise known as The Loop King from Melbourne’s own LoopDeLoop Animation screenings.
Please join us tomorrow (Friday, 11 December) at 11am AEDT when The Smiling Boy will be launched via YouTube to mark Farhad’s eighth prison birthday.
And MIAF’s Annie Murray will be posting an article about this very special project on our website in coming days. Stay tuned.