‘I’m a visual artist who’s not doing a lot at the moment because the art scene is a bit dead.’

‘I’m a lawyer working in tax law.’

What do you like most about him?

‘His art and he’s got style.’

What’s the nicest thing she’s ever done for you?

‘Looked after me – we’ve been together over 30 years.’

What’s been your biggest challenge as a couple?

‘Oh, we’ve had a few problems over the years. I guess dealing with me – it’s not easy being an artist. It’s a very hard profession. In your twenties, it’s kind of exciting but as you get older and if you haven’t become famous, it gets harder and harder to keep carrying on. Everyone I know has problems. Everyone in their twenties thinks they’re going to be famous and have this fabulous lifestyle but it doesn’t work out that way for 99% of people.’

What would be your message to young artists starting out?

‘Study law!’

‘I knew of a person who passed away for a small period of time and then was revived. They weren’t religious or anything but they said they felt that while they were gone for a while they turned in to an owl that could see in to their sister’s house. Then I maybe thought they’re kind of like gods or icons. That’s the inspiration behind my designs but then it became more just putting them around so they’re recognisable.’

Do you believe in an afterlife?

‘I’m not too sure – probably not at this stage. I think we go to where we came from before we were born.’

‘I work on an international project in the HIV sector.’

If you could communicate one point that would make people more aware about the issues associated with living with HIV, what would that be?

‘In Australia, having HIV is not a crime and it’s a stigma about HIV that’s the biggest issue that we have.’

‘The last time I saw my husband was on the 30th of September 2012. I miss everything about him – he is so interesting.I’m from Cameroon and have been in Australia for one year. I came here with nothing but the most important thing is I’ve got a place to sleep. I have no other family here.My husband got involved in a socialist group at home. My country is bilingual. We have the French and the English part of it. The French are more dominant because there is a larger population of them. My husband joined the English movement. It’s termed illegal by the President so anybody who is caught trying to fight for the rights for the English Cameroonians falls in to trouble with the President. We are treated like we are not part of the country.

During one of the meetings he got arrested but managed to get out of the country through the help of one of the senior members. I didn’t know where he was. The police were after me because of my husband’s involvement in the rights. He was a serious member of the movement.

It’s a government that nobody asks questions of. What happens happens. I have a Masters Degree in Communication but sometimes I am really scared to be a journalist because we know some of the things that happen. I was worried my husband would go to jail or be killed. Most of the members have been killed.

I didn’t know anything about Australia but when I came I had a warm welcome. The people have been very nice even though the whole visa process has been slow.

I’ve been training at Parliament on King for five weeks. I’m not a coffee person but now I get to make coffee and have been learning about all the different types. I am now in contact with my husband – he made his way to Austria. We speak every other day.’

‘I’m doing this because I’ve been struggling with mental illness – primarily depression – for most of my life. I know what it feels like to not have anyone listen or not to have anyone to be there for me. I know how busy everybody is and I know what it feels like to be alone. I hope that by doing this that people start caring about each other and lending a hand, you know?’

‘My father died before I was born and there was a lot of arguing at home between me and my mum. It was just her and I so there was no mediator so it’s been very intense.

‘When I was in year 10, my mother and I had one of many very big fights and I ended up leaving and living with my friend for 3 months but then after that I came back. My mum left the next day to go to New Zealand for 6 weeks and so I was apparently a responsible teenager and could handle that. I had a job and all the rest so it wasn’t that bad.

‘After she got back we managed to live together for another 3 months but everything was getting worse and worse. There were definitely forms of abuse whether or not she realised it was a different thing.

‘I got in to crisis care and from there I have been living in a local refuge called Lillian’s for the past two years. Sadly though, the government has decided to cut funding to Lillian’s so it will close at the end of October.’

How do you feel about the refuge closing?

‘I find it’s helped me through so many things living there – through my depression and anxiety – as well as finish my HSC. My biggest fear when it closes is that I will end up with nowhere to go. That’s scary for me because it’s just a stable environment and it feels like home. There are so many other girls there as well and the bonds that you form with them are not like any others.’

What would have happened to you had you not been there?

‘I probably would have bounced from crisis refuge to crisis refuge which isn’t a good thing. That would have been difficult for me. There are people who have been through that and they’re ending up on the streets and I don’t think that’s a good thing.’