‘Shelter’: A video poem by Angela Costi and Faezeh Alavi

Also in the Embroidery of Old Maps and New Project

Making Lace         Routine of Space      Kinaesthetic Grace

Shelter – the second film of An Embroidery of Old Maps and New Project.  
Filmmaker – Faezeh Alavi  
Poem, voice and performer – Angela Costi 
Film score and performers – Alana Hunt and Sofia Chapman of VARDOS 
Funding support – City of Melbourne, COVID19 Arts Grants  
Host – Greek Australian Cultural League (GACL) 
During the various stages of restrictions and lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, GACL cancelled its art exhibition and poetry event, titled Connection. Costi was scheduled to  feature reading a series of poems. Shelter is about the connection we have with our  environment – yes, we are confined to our homes of plastered walls, but we have our minds that can take us travelling. It was written during Stage 3 restrictions and filmed at Organ Pipes National Park, when restrictions were eased.
Shelter was first published in Eureka Street, No. 30 No. 7, 14 April 2020 and Poetry on the Move, July 2020. 



We are the travellers of small steps
wearing pyjamas and slippers
to greet each room as if it were a country
encountered from a plane flight,
konnichiwa to the space called Living
ola to the island called Kitchen
ni hao to the mattress of pent up dreams,
in the study there is the desk
holding geography’s memory,
salve, kalimera, take me with you.

My mother will be lighting her candles
on her bench-top to create her church,
my father will shuffle with his frame
to the chair on the porch with the vista
of his twelve-year-old eyes diving
for sea sponges from an unsteady pier.

This space termed Home
is a document of journey
as we come to know the walls as trees
we long to climb,
the doors to close or open
depending on altitude and inclement,
the ceiling will seem higher than Everest,
from the carpet we see the grit
of hiking through jungle.

And there, in the lonely corner
is the blue rug to sit on and breathe in
the smell of the ocean calling its waves
to sweep our dust.


Faezeh Alavi is an Iranian filmmaker, actress and graduate of Theatre Directing from Sooreh Art University, Tehran, with a Master of Arts in puppet theatre. Since 2016, she has resided in Melbourne, Australia. She has directed over seven short films, two of which won awards from Greenmefilmfestival, Greenfestival, Veterans Film Festival and the Aswara Film Festival in 2016. Her short film, The Private Part, was screened at the St. Kilda Film Festival 2020.

Alana Hunt and Sofia Chapman (VARDOS) are renowned musicians for playing folk and Romany music, which they have learnt directly from Roma (Gypsy) musicians during their Eastern European travels. They have played in major music festivals across Australia and overseas, featured in films, television and radio; been nominated for the BBC Radio3 World  Music Awards and Aria award finalists. They have provided film scores for a number of  plays and short films, including The Private Part. https://www.vardos.com.au

Angela Costi is the author of four poetry collections, eight plays and a community arts book, Relocated. Influenced by her Cypriot heritage, travel and migration have been part of Costi’s writing history. In 1995, she received a travel award from the Australian National Languages and Literacy Board to study Ancient Greek Drama in Greece. In 2009, she travelled to Japan with funding from the Australian Council for the Arts to work on an international collaboration involving her poetry and Japan-based, Stringraphy Ensemble. https://www.facebook.com/AngelaCostiPoetics/

Comments are closed.