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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

Udine Hostel, Italy

Date: 2003
Dimensions:
Overall: 480 x 640 x 45 mm, 1.7 kg
Medium: Oil on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037915
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    Description
    Udine Hostel was an Italian migrant centre where Gina Sinozich and her family, along with 3,000 other refugees, were sent to be processed as political asylum seekers in 1956. The Sinozich family had fled communist Yugoslavia and lived at the Udine Hostel for 18 months. This painting shows the sparse and depressing hostel with its lack of privacy and overcrowding. Along with these challenging physical conditions, refugees also faced resentment from the local community, who were largely unsympathetic to their plight during the economic hardships of post World War II Europe.
    SignificanceThis painting shows the experience of many refugees detained in hostels while waiting for their official paperwork and clearance in post World War II Europe. It is one of a series of 14 paintings completed by the 73 year old artist Gina Sinozich documenting her personal experience as a Croatian migrant travelling to Australia.
    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: Udine Hostel, Italy

    Web title: Udine Hostel, Italy

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