‘Finding my home after leaving my home’
Rubaba and her husband grew up in Pakistan. Ethnically, they are both Hazaras. The community originated in Afghanistan but persecution and threats from the Taliban persuaded many Hazaris to move to Pakistan, including Rubaba’s forebears. Still, the persecution continued.
‘I think it was in my teens when this thing started happening again, like lots of ethnic cleansing, lots of ethnic targeting’ Rubaba recalls.
After studying art at the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore, Rubaba worked there for a year before arriving in Australia in 2009. Her brother had already emigrated to Melbourne so he sponsored Rubaba and her mother, knowing Australia was a safer place to live.
Rubaba remembers: ‘It was a massive leap of faith in deciding to relocate to Australia as it meant that I had to forge new connections and contacts that I lost as a result of emigrating to a new country.’
Her mother encouraged her to ‘just keep working’ and it paid off when an art director saw her artwork published in the newspaper. After interviewing Rubaba, he exhibited it in the Melbourne Art Fair. The Niagara Galleries then made her an offer to become one of their artists.
Rubaba describes herself as a survivor and a go-getter. As a children’s social worker, she can find the work mentally exhausting, particularly as she is raising a young family. Nevertheless, she has found that through art, she can express things she finds difficult to talk about. Paint and thread work represent the intertwining of emotional traumas, emigrating, and losing connections with people.
To Rubaba, ‘home is where the heart is’, where you build relationships and connections with people around you. She and her husband had been living in Melbourne’s north, but took the plunge and bought in Orana.
‘It was a really big decision just to relocate from that side to this side. We decided to move here because there’s a massive Hazara community on this side, and we wanted to give my daughter that exposure of growing up within that community and having that sense of belonging.’
Orana is her dream home. She firmly believes that you can attain everything that you desire with hard work and says it was really exciting to finally achieve something that she and her husband had worked hard towards.
‘We made the right decision to move to Orana!’
Click here to see some of Rubaba’s work at the Niagara Galleries.