Anne Ryan

Below Zero

Throughout my childhood in Ballarat, we knew the distressing bite of a long, cold winter, below zero.

We rode to school in the rain and occasional snow, but there was always a promise of warmth and comfort the minute we arrived home. I suppose the thought of never being able to come back home, and having to survive and care for a family in the snow and rain, was unimaginable to me, without the added nightmare of escaping physical and psychological trauma of War. I was so moved by the black and white photography of Polish refugees from WW2 I had read about at school that I included in my year 12 painting folio.

Year 12 Painting Folio (one of the paintings from the Polish refugees WW2 series)

When I read the picture book manuscript of ‘Salih’ written by Inda Ahmad Sahri, I made instant connections to the recurring crisis of displaced people across the globe.  The current images of refugee families in the snow, escaping violent conflicts and facing years of uncertainty in inadequate camps, brought me full circle to that childhood memory, below zero.

I adore the mindful clarity with which Inda’s moving story flows. Her ability to illuminate the child’s perspective within, opens the imagination to hope and sensitivity.

Inda’s wonderful text has given me a very special opportunity to make a contribution to a new generation by raising awareness of some of the harshest human sacrifices faced by millions of people around the world. I am looking forward to sharing more details about this new book very soon!

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