Visual Arts

Portals of Longing

Organised by: =DREAMS Asia and Fugee Org
  • Date:
    26 Feb - 3 Mar 2024
  • Time:
    10:00am – 10:00pm
  • Venue:
    Wisma Atria Level 1
    Wisma Atria Level 1Wisma Atria Level 1
  • Admission:


In this poignant exhibition, refugees living in Malaysia share multifaceted stories about their lived experience of displacement. These newly commissioned works reveal a profound yearning for a home that once cradled their dreams intertwined with a longing for acceptance in a newfound community. Through symbolic motifs and traditional elements, culture anchors exploration of the self alongside the complexities of forced migration. Amidst the uncertain status of those seeking asylum and profound challenges of displacement, hope plays an important motivational role and resilience emerges as another common thread. While the artists are unable to travel to Singapore for the show, they invite you to share in their aspirations for a brighter, more inclusive future.

Portals of Longing is organised by =DREAMS Asia in collaboration with Fugee, a non-profit and a leading provider of refugee education services in Malaysia, which provides academic schooling from primary to tertiary, enterprise work, and capacity-building for refugees in Kuala Lumpur. The project aims to empower the voices of refugees, advocate that there are talents to nurture among refugee communities and showcase their creative potential. The works were commissioned by =DREAMS Asia and showcases the culmination of nearly four months of dedication and creativity, mentored by Malaysian artists Azad Daniel, Art:Tech, Sharina Shahrin, and Haris Hashid.

About the Refugee Experience in Malaysia

While this exhibition is presented in Singapore, Singapore does not accept any persons seeking political asylum or refugee status. Malaysia is a destination for refugees and asylum-seekers but the situation is often challenging due to the absence of a legal framework for refugees and asylum-seekers as Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Refugees in Malaysia do not have access to education, formal employment and healthcare. Even so, there are over 180,000 refugees in Malaysia and 46,000 of them are children. The refugee community lives in constant fear and exploitation in various sectors including work and education. It is by the intervention of UNHCR Malaysia, local NGOS, and social enterprises that the refugee community can thrive in these unstable conditions. Due to their uncertain status, Malaysia is a transition country for refugees from all around the world. Families wait for resettlement – a process that can take years.

Portals of Longing