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Reproduced courtesy of Gina Sinozich

Three Suit Cases

Date: 2003
Overall: 300 x 400 mm, 2 mm, 0.34 kg
Medium: Oil on wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Gina Sinozich
Object Copyright: © Gina Sinozich
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00037907
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    On 16 August 1957 Gina Sinozich, her husband and two children arrived in Melbourne, Australia from Genoa, Italy as Croatian refugees on board SS NEPTUNIA. Gina had fled her home country without telling family and friends or taking any family mementoes. This painting is a vivid reminder of what many migrants were forced to leave behind when they moved to Australia. On arriving in Melbourne, the Sinozich family's entire belongings were contained in just three suitcases.
    Significance'Three Suit Cases' highlights what World War II refugees were forced to leave behind when they came to Australia and just how little they had to start their new lives with.
    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: Three Suit Cases

    Web title: Three Suit Cases

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