Kahli Henderson-Powell

Migration and Immigration

Artist Statement

Birds work together, move together and migrate together. People have always viewed immigrants and refugees as messy and inconvenient, which is how my piece looks from afar. From a distance, people see only scribbles and red blocks. It is messy and inconvenient. However, on closer exploration, you notice birds, each one having their own characteristics, dreams, and desires. Each bird represents a person. Every bird was drawn by a continuous line; however, some birds share the same line — this symbolises family connections. The red block represents rejection, meaning that that bird/person wasn’t granted access/asylum.

QSuper Sponsor’s Choice Award

Artwork Process

I was exploring and experimenting with a variety of drawing techniques and materials, such as inks, pastels, charcoal, various pens, cartoon, and realism. I chose continuous line drawings. Black ink pens worked well for the fluidity of line I desired. Saddened by how refugees are often disregarded, I drew birds as representations of people — people in the masses, no longer individual, but instead, chaotic and annoying. Wanting to overload the viewer, I overlapped the birds and added scribble lines to intensify the chaos of my work. The red blocks highlight the sometimes irrational rejection of refugees and the separation that families face.

About the Artist

  • Name: Kahli Henderson-Powell
  • School: Freshwater Christian College
  • Artwork: Migration and Immigration
  • Media: Pen and synthetic polymer paint on paper

After school I want to study art at TAFE. I will also be working on generating artworks for my upcoming exhibition at a local gallery in Cairns. My long-term goal is to be a tattoo artist.

As an artist I find inspiration in experimenting with a variety of techniques, with the goal of being able to create at times just pure aesthetics. I have obviously been motived by political and environmental issues but I sometimes just want to draw and create for the sake of creating. I’ve always thought about my art as a private space where I can think and process the world around me — I don’t always like sharing it with others.