From the Launch at St John Lutheran Church, Sydney (September 22,
2013)Groupshot: Vasilis Vasilas, Dr Terry Kass, Maie Barrow, Reet
Bergmann, Reet Simmul and Pastor Meelis Rosma.
Reede, 29 August 2014 10:06
Estonian Life No. 35 2014
Australian school teacher, Vasilis Vasilas, will be visiting Canada in September 2014 (6/9- 25/9) to gather photographs and anecdotal stories within the Estonian community for a forthcoming publication, Across Lands and Oceans...to Freedom: Stories and Photographs from the Journey to Canada.
Having travelled across Australia and New Zealand gathering photographs and stories from the respective the Estonian communities there, and subsequently publishing Across Lands and Oceans...to Freedom: Stories and Photographs from the Journey to Australia and New Zealand (2013), Vasili hopes this proposed Canadian project will be a companion book to the Australian and New Zealand one.
Australian-born and of Greek parents, Vasilis has also published two books depicting the journey to Australia of Greek migrants from the island of Lesvos, Journeys of Uncertainty and Hope and Our Homeland: Lesvos, which were complemented with photo-exhibitions, and has also established an on-line archive on the Lesvian migrants in Australia and New Zealand. Vasilas has archived approximately 900 (to date) Lesvian migrants and their photographs on the website www.syndesmos.net
Since October 2013, Vasilis has been working within Australia's Ukrainian community, gathering stories and photographs on the Ukrainian journey to Australia and this proposed project will reach the editing stages in December 2014.
To complete the project on the Estonian journey to Australia and New Zealand, Vasilis visited Estonian homes in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Wellington (NZ), as well as Thirlmere Retirement Village, scanning photographs and conducting short interviews with respective participants.
Vasilis explains the forthcoming publication on the Estonian journey to Canada is based on the structure and format of Across Land and Oceans...to Freedom, "The book's chapters will be structured according to the journey itself, with chapters on Europe, the voyage to Canada and one chapter on the first few years of life in Canada.
What makes this work a little different is the emphasis on photographs. Participants only recount the story of the photograph(s) they provide for the publication. Where the participant would actually come into the publication is at what point of the journey the photograph was taken.
For instance, if participants had photographs about various aspects of life in the DP camps, their stories would only be about camp life. If they had photographs of their stay in Sweden, their stories would only be of life there. If they had photographs on the ships coming to Australia, their stories would only be about the journey. And so on...
By structuring the publication this way and collectively presenting the photographs and anecdotes, I believe the publication will symbolise the journey of a people".
Asked why Vasilis wishes to write a book on the Estonian journey to Canada, he explains there are a number of reasons, "As the people from the Baltic nations are part of the first ethnic groups to come to Canada in the immediate post-War years (1947- 52), it is important to visually depict their experiences and capture their stories before this generation disappears.
Also, the Estonian communities of Australia and New Zealand have been wonderful in embracing my work and I wish to extend myself (and my work) with this proposed project on Canada. As a result of all my work with Estonian people, and making life-long Estonian friends, they have now become an important part of my life."
Vasilis' Across Lands and Oceans...to Freedom is being presented to NSW Parliament, in a special ceremony organised by the Estonian Archives of Australia, on October 16, 2014.
Anyone who would like to participate in this forthcoming book, they may contact VasilisVasilas on See e-posti aadress on spämmirobotite eest kaitstud. Selle nägemiseks peab su veebilehitsejas olema JavaSkript sisse lülitatud.