Meet Olana Janfa
A self-taught artist, Olana was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and sought asylum in Norway as a teenager. He has lived in Australia since 2015 and began painting in 2018 as a way to reconnect with his culture and create a sense of home.
"I love seeing people smile when they see my art. My dream is to keep taking my art to new places - in the street, on album covers, in fashion, working with kids - and to travel the world with it," says the artist.
Titled ‘Journey to Freedom’ the Olana X ASRC collection features an artwork by Olana that represents the refugee journey of following hope to seek safety in a new country.
Brimming with optimism, Olana’s vibrant artwork depicts a bus carrying refugees to a new destination under the sun of hope. The roof of the bus is stacked high with the important yet intangible “luggage” that many refugees carry with them into their new life.
“The bus represents a refugee going to a new country. When you leave your home, you leave so much behind, but the things that you can take - memories, hope, faith, culture, dreams - are what keep you going and stay with you always,” says Olana.
“As a refugee, it is not easy coming to a new country. You don’t know the culture, the language, or the way things work. That is why I am happy to support the ASRC. They make refugees feel welcome and, in my experience, that is the greatest gift you can give to someone,” says Olana.
All proceeds from sales will help fund the ASRC’s programs that support and empower people seeking asylum as they rebuild their lives in Australia.