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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

Our Story

Date: 2004
Overall: 1200 x 900 mm
Medium: Oil on board
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00038905
Place Manufactured:Casula

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    In 2004 Gina Sinozich painted this self portrait with the bow of SS NEPTUNIA stretching towards a map of Australia. In this work Gina reflects her upon own story and explains why she left Communist Croatia in 1956 with her husband Eugen and their children Vladimiro and Eugenia. Life was difficult with long queues for food and the secret police creating an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. This is one of a series of 14 paintings completed by the 73 year old artist documenting her personal story as a Croatian migrant.
    SignificanceThis painting is representative of the personal stories of many post-World War II refugees and migrants who came to Australia, changing not only their lives but also Australian society - marking the beginning of modern multiculturalism.
    HistoryGina Sinozich began painting in 2000, when she was 70 years old. In 2009 she continued to paint full-time at her home in south-western Sydney. In these paintings Gina gives a first hand account of daily life on board the passenger ship SS NEPTUNIA which left Genoa, Italy for Melbourne, Australia on 19 June 1957. Her works are largely chronological and concentrate on the ship's journey, offering an insight into the anticipation and apprehension she felt towards their destination Australia, of which little was known.

    In 1956 Gina Sinozich fled her hometown in Istria, Croatia with her husband and two children Michael and Jenny to start a new life. Their decision to leave was made because of the difficult conditions experienced by families living in post-war Croatia, then part of the Communist Republic of Yugoslavia and under the control of Marshall Josip Tito. Many Croatians feared for their safety and experienced hunger and poverty.

    After travelling overland to Italy the Sinozich family lived in a refugee camp for 18 months until they were accepted for assisted migration to Australia. The family of four arrived to Australia with only three small suitcases, having fled in secret without packing family keepsakes or mementoes.

    Their journey mirrored the passage taken by hundreds of thousands of post-World War II European migrants, one which changed not only their lives but also had a profound effect on Australian society. Gina returned to Croatia in 2004, reuniting with family members and mending rifts caused by her secret departure almost fifty years earlier.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: Our Story

    Web title: Our Story

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