The story behind the handmade covers for Garland


4 December 2015

The covers for the hard-copy edition of Garland are individually hand-decorated by artists associated with the Melbourne Artists for Asylum Seekers. Special thanks to Peter Burke for providing the space at Victoria University for workshops,  Tri Setyani for organising the artists, and Azizeh Astaneh for her generous assistance. Proceeds of the sales go back to the artists. This project has been inspired by Eliosa Cartonera.

Most of the artists are from Iran, where many had established careers and galleries. Some covers were produced in detention centres as part of the workshops conducted by MAFA. Due to visa conditions, some of them use the names of flowers to identify their works. In most cases, artists chose to base their work around the concept of garland, which in Iran is very important as a way of marking special occasions, such as victories, returns and funerals. These artists drew on the traditional Persian decorative design known as tazhib, which is a garland applied to the cover of a book.

If you enjoy any of the covers, you are encouraged to leave a comment. We hope that this project will help the recently-arrived artists realise their potential to contribute to a new culture. The covers are available for purchase here

Thanks to Dominique Kirchner, Vanessa Miller, Molly George, Margaret Mayhew, Allison Russell and the artists whose work is featured.

Hover your mouse over the image to find the number and artist.


Like the article? Make it a conversation by leaving a comment below.  If you believe in supporting a platform for culture-makers, consider becoming a subscriber.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • LynnElzinga-Henry says:

    Can’t believe how beautiful these covers are. My absolute favourite artists are Maryam S and Afsaneh Ahmadian

  • Julia Raath says:

    What a wonderful way to celebrate the first edition. I received my copy today. A poignant reminder about freedom and loving life from my artist Eucalyptus. Thank you !