Teena Saulo is an ethnographic researcher and documentary photographer. Her interests lie in the fields of Indigenous Southeast Asian studies, and migration, refugee, feminist and diasporic studies. In 2009, Teena migrated to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, where her experiences of isolation and loneliness led her to express her profound emotions through “Telling Lives”, an independent film about the lived experiences of migrant and refugee women. She also taught herself to paint, to articulate this sense of displacement. As a photographer she has exhibited her work in Southeast Asia, Europe and Australia. She earned her PhD in Anthropology in 2020, with research focusing on the diasporic experiences of Hmong migrant-refugee women in Sydney and Canberra who escaped the Pathet Lao regime in the late 70s. You can find more of her work at: https://teenasaulophotography.carbonmade.com/.
“Dickson” is her first attempt at poetry, and was produced during a 3-minute writing exercise during a Mother Tongue poetry workshop run by Vesna Cvjetićanin.
The moment I landed in Canberra
Canberra embraced me
But I did not embrace Canberra right away
Instead, my mind reached out across the Pacific
To the shores of the country, that I once held deep inside my heart and
in the crevices of my mind.
To the place where I had grown roots
To my grandfather’s house
The smell of his aftershave
His music, that grand old piano, his xylophone, and bajo de arco
His photography, his camera
The gallery of faces on the walls and his darkroom
I open my eyes and I find myself in DICKSON
© Teena Saulo, 2022