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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

We are Sailing the Suez Canal on Our Way to Australia

Date: 2003
Overall: 480 x 626 x 45 mm, 1.58 kg
Medium: Oil on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037916
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    In 1957 Gina Sinozich and her family fled Communist Croatia as refugees, eventually travelling to Australia on board SS NEPTUNIA. This painting shows the ship travelling through the Suez Canal with four Arab men on shore. NEPTUNIA's voyage opened the artist to new lands such as Egypt, where she bought a souvenir from a vendor selling wares on the banks of the Canal. This is one of a series of 14 paintings completed by the 73 year old artist documenting her personal experience as a Croatian refugee travelling to Australia.
    SignificanceThis painting is representative of the passenger ships that carried European migrants and refugees to Australia following World War II. It highlights ship routes through the Suez Canal and the exposure of passengers to different cultures on the voyage. This painting also represents the personal experience of Croatian refugee and artist Gina Sinozich and her family on board SS NEPTUNIA in 1957.
    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

    (not entered): We are Sailing the Suez Canal on Our Way to Australia

    Web title: We are Sailing the Suez Canal on Our Way to Australia

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