Meet Our Team

Bukjeh is focusing on working with diverse communities in order to bring together the best quality of work
  • Management & Production
  • Artists
  • Advisory Group

CEO & Creative Director

Asseel Tayah

CEO’s Personal Assistant & Programs Manager

Christine Waguih

Marketing & Social Media Consultant

Muhammed Abu Haniyeh

Stage & Production Manager

Kush Kuiy

South Australia Producer & Lead Dancer

Caleena Sansbury

West Australia Producer

Joel Evans

North South Wales Producer

Dana Kamal

CEO & Creative Director

Asseel Tayah

Aseel Tayah is a Melbourne-based Palestinian artist, creative director and cultural leader who uses her practice to advocate for artists of colour, mothers, children and young people, changing the world, one project at a time.
She has recently been described as “an unstoppable force in the Australian cultural landscape.”
Through the power of storytelling, Aseel’s artistic practice creates awareness and facilitates connection by humanising the experiences of people who have been displaced.
As such, her work is embedded in the community and is often highly responsive to current issues.
During Refugee Week 2020, Aseel curated, produced and presented a series of live online discussion panels featuring national and international artists and cultural leaders. The series attracted more than 40,000 views and led to an invitation to participate in the inaugural TEDx Melbourne PluggedIn event where she was awarded Best Speaker.
As a creative director and installation artist, Aseel has a wide range of experience; international highlights include We Too Want To Play, the establishment of Palestine’s first network of toy libraries and Fingerprint of an Arab Girl, an annual event showcasing the talents and achievements of girls living under occupation.
In Australia, collaborations include unique intercultural experiences such as Lullabies under the Stars, an Arabic/First Nations work for children, and the participatory installation Bukjeh, exploring stories of home and being forced to leave it.
Aseel exemplifies the use of art and creativity to achieve social justice, and is renowned for her kindness, optimism and generosity. She also has an incredible singing voice which she uses to connect hearts and harvest hope.
CEO’s Personal Assistant & Programs Manager

Christine Waguih

Christine is an Egyptian girl. She is the CEO personal assistant and Bukjeh’s program manager.
Before starting this business, she spent four years as a Concierge Clefs dÓr member at Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, and after a successful milestone, she decided to seek another opportunity in the management business sector through Bukjeh. She is responsible on focusing on developing a program’s objectives and strategy and assessing how it will impact the business and connect people together, through coordinating activities between the team members.
Marketing & Social Media Consultant

Muhammed Abu Haniyeh

Muhammed has been working in the media industry for 12 years; as a , a journalist and editor in chief. He presented several training courses in the field of journalism editing. He has a Pa degree in Business and Diploma in media . Professional and qualified trainer with extensive knowledge of cutting edge techniques in digital video editing coupled with specialized certifications. More than 15 years of solid expertise in the delivery of training and capacity building activities.
Stage & Production Manager

Kush Kuiy

Kush is a second generation Australian of South-Sudanese heritage. She is of the Nuer nation in the Upper Nile region and a proud cie-wang woman. Kush is a “doer of many things” , she is an independent producer/artist/writer/curator and avid bird watcher. She brings her lived experience of suburban life to her producing practice, as a lifetime resident of the South-East of Melbourne, she stages innovative experiences that showcase performing artists emerging from South-East Melbourne’s burgeoning scene. Kush’s artistic practice is very personal, she is experimental in exploring how she can manipulate different mediums to reflect her third-culture experience; connect with her cultural heritage; and the natural world.
South Australia Producer & Lead Dancer

Caleena Sansbury

An Aboriginal woman South Australia, her language groups are Ngarrindjeri, Narrunga and Kaurna . She graduated from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Skills Development Association in 2013 with a Diploma in Careers in Dance. Since then she had continued to work in the arts industry performing with various choreographers. She is very passionate about creating change for the arts and would love the opportunity to connect with other like-minded people in the industry. She feels as if it’s urgent and necessary to form a movement such as this to ensure that art is maintained and looked at as a high importance. She would benefit greatly if given the opportunity to attend Arts Front as she will meet like-minded people and would be given the chance to discuss my ideas and perspectives from an Indigenous cultural background.
West Australia Producer

Joel Evans

North South Wales Producer

Dana Kamal

Dramaturge

Stephanie Ghajar

Writer, Speaker & Facilitator

Didem Caia

Musical Director

Camille Feghali

Musical Lead

Meena Shamaly

Lead Actor

Taj Aldeeb

Lead Actor

Oz Malik

Musician

Brett Lee

Film Maker

Jason Cheetham

Performing Artist & Facilitator

Jose Louis Alejandro

Poet & Writer

Rania Ahmed

Costume Designer

Safa El Samad

Dancer

Folole Asuao Sanele Tupuola

Wejdan Shamala

Dramaturge

Stephanie Ghajar

Is a director dramaturge whose work delves into the human condition to explore the individual in deeply personal situations where the familiar motions of the everyday darken and veer towards the tragic. Working in film and theatre together has shown evident streaks of each medium seeping into the other. Ghajar has worked both behind the scenes and centerstage, whether performing or managing creatives and crew for several theatres and venues internationally. She is currently based between Melbourne and New York City, developing new works.
Writer, Speaker & Facilitator

Didem Caia

Didem grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne. She is a writer of plays, essays and fiction. Her plays have been developed and produced in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide and presented in Edinburgh, London, New York and Chicago. She has received development grants through the Australian Arts Council, Ian Potter Cultural Trust, Copywright Agency, Melbourne City Council and Western Chances Scholarship Program. Her plays Vile, Isolation, Work in Progress and the University of Longing have all been funded through Melbourne funding bodies. Vile was shortlisted for a number of Australian theatre awards and in 2016 was shortlisted for the Theatre 503 New Play award in London. Her essays and fiction have been published through Currency House Press, australianplays.org, Meanjin, Yen magazine, Express Media, Artshub and the Age. Her work draws on her mixed cultural heritage and she fuses personal stories of the working class and home, to bring light to the many facets of being Australian.
Musical Director

Camille Feghali

Camille Feghali is a Lebanese musician and film-maker who draws heavily from the traditions of classical Middle Eastern music. The instruments he plays include the Qanun, the Nay, the Buzuq and the synthesizer. He cofounded “Tarabeat” in 2016, which is a music collective combining Arabic traditional music with electronic instruments.
Tarabeat managed to perform at various festivals in the Middle East, Europe and Australia. Having studied sound engineering and film-making in Beirut, Lebanon, Camille directed a few social documentaries including “Transit” in 2017.
Musical Lead

Meena Shamaly

Meena Shamaly is a composer, musician, poet, and radio presenter. His work centres around storytelling through the mediums of film, video games, song writing, and performance poetry. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, specifically sought for his expertise on Middle Eastern music.
Meena regularly collaborates with other artists to highlight the best aspects of their art. He also runs workshops in poetry and music for artists to help them explore their creativity.
Meena also hosts the Game Show on ABC Classic, presenting the music of video games on radio to a national Australian and global online audience.
Lead Actor

Taj Aldeeb

Taj is a musician and performer. She fell in love with the performing arts in early childhood, taking part in the international Solhi-al-wadi Academy Piano Competition, and training at the National Ballet Academy in her hometown in Syria. In 2014, Taj fled the Syrian war with her family and settled in Melbourne / Narrm. Taj is committed to telling stories that demonstrate the challenges, triumphs, and diverse experiences of forced migration. Taj also employs her talents as a storyteller in advocacy work for human rights, leading multiple projects for not-for-profit organisations Road to Refuge and Red Cross, and giving talks for the community. Taj has a distinguished interest in doing one too many things at once.
Lead Actor

Oz Malik

Oz Malik is an actor, artist, talk show host and program curator. His practise adopts ideas & inspiration from Sufi mysticism, ancient wisdom and the decolonial. As a person of colour, Oz Malik hopes to be involved in the process of portraying positive & honest representation of multicultural communities in the current media and film landscape. Born in Melbourne, Oz Malik grew up in the south east suburbs of Melbourne and practises his craft on Bunurong and the Wurundjeri land. His acting experience was cultivated at the National theatre of Victoria, The Australia Film & Television Academy and Brave studios. Over the past 5 years Oz Malik has been a theatre and screen actor who has been involved in a spectrum of independent projects to commercial work. Oz Malik hopes to be a mainstay in the industry for years and to work with the best.
Musician

Brett Lee

Ngiyampaa man and First Nations singer-songwriter Pirritu’s (Brett Lee) music is gentle, honest and from the heart. Strange and melodic chords frame this songwriters vocals that weave around his lyrics like a gentle wind, enticing you into the depths of his personal journey, singing you a story of both sadness, love and hope. Pirritu (meaning ‘Brett’ in Ngiyampaa Language) was adopted by a non-Aboriginal couple as a newborn baby and raised to be proud of his Aboriginality, to follow his cultural journey and to connect back to family, culture and language – a journey he began when he was 14 years old. Two things drive his continual thirst to connect to his people, country, language and culture – his one year old daughter and his passion for music. To deepen his understanding of his mother tongue, Pirritu volunteers with the Ngiyampaa Language Project to test materials being created for the purpose of updating the Ngiyampaa Grammar written by Tamisin Donaldson in the 1970’s. Pirritu previously worked as Art Project Officer at The Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and sits on the Board of Songlines, Victoria’s peak Aboriginal music body, a not-forprofit organisation which has supported Aboriginal musicians since 1996 by providing professional development programs, performance opportunities and administering a range of festivals and events.
Film Maker

Jason Cheetham

Is a Melbourne-based filmmaker and digital media specialist, who loves the arts and is dedicated to working with organisations that make a difference. Jason has worked with organisations like St Martins Youth Arts Centre (Melbourne), City of Whittlesea (Victoria), World Vision Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and Arts Creative Global (Beijing). With a Bachelor of Performing Arts from Monash University and a Master of Media from RMIT University, Jason’s creative endeavours inform his approaches to videography and digital media in new and innovative ways every day. Jason’s recent projects include: ‘Hip Hop & Hot Pot’ as a Hamer Scholar, Chengdu (2019); ‘Jeremy and Lucas Buy a House’ , Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2018); ‘Pleasant Island’ , Theatre451 (2017); and ‘outcaste’ (2016) at the Sunshine Film Festival
Performing Artist & Facilitator

Jose Louis Alejandro

Jose is an interdisciplinary performing Artist, Facilitator, Somatic and Transpersonal Psychotherapist, Yogi, Physical Therapist and Creator. Started his journey in his native Chile, where graduated as Psychologist, Psychotherapist and Actor. During that time, he added into his blend specialised courses in Meditation, Gestalt, Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Breath work, Psychodrama, Projective test, as well as creative workshops in Contemporary Dance, Contact Improvisation, Emotional Expression, Singing and Spoken voice.
Poet & Writer

Rania Ahmed

Rania is a Muslim Egyptian poet and writer who aims to change perspective via her writing. Winner of the MSW poetry prize 2018, her writing humanizes all and stirs thoughts through controversial topics. She participated, in the Footscray art centre through the west writer’s group with Alia Gabres, and MSW gigs. Rania also became part of a community project called Bukjeh, with Aseel Tayah. Bukjeh creates awareness about displacement to people around the world. She writes for the Australian Muslim times and podium magazine. Rania adores connection and finds writing to be her best way of doing so.
Costume Designer

Safa El Samad

Lives by the axiom that ‘the architect should be able to design everything from the city to the spoon.’ Not only a testament to her allrounded experience as a multidisciplinary artist, fashion designer and emerging architect. Safa is also passionate about art and design that is built to last. She recently combined these areas of interest into an original and certified sustainable t-shirt design to raise funds for Lebanon’s bushfire recovery efforts. Safa is currently completing a Masters of Architecture at Monash University.
Dancer

Folole Asuao Sanele Tupuola

Folole Asuao Sanele Tupuola a Samoan is a Samoan woman and is
settled on Watharaung Country. They are a dancer, emerging artist and
activist. She shares stories through her art-making and together with community.

Wejdan Shamala

I am a poet, humanitarian and a human and animals’ rights activist. As a New Zealander of Palestinian origin, much of my work is themed around identity, belonging, meaning lost in translation and struggles of second-generation migrants. My writing also includes themes of mental wellbeing and the fight against depression and anxiety. My education background is in International Relations and Philosophy, along with a master’s degree in Development and Education. I spent a significant portion of my upbringing in the Middle East and travelled to Paris as an exchange student. That is when my Middle Eastern and Western worldviews have collided, breaking the dam for a journey of social and spiritual reconciliation. As a humanitarian, I went on to reside briefly in Beirut, Buenos Aires and Amman, working with NGOs, such as the United Nations Relief & Works and Agency, Norwegian Peoples Aid and other grassroots organisations. In Australia, I worked for nearly 5 years on the refugee Youth Transition Support program. Within that role of Social Work and Project Management, I contributed to the development of the Stand Tall Speak Out spoken word poetry program and delivered it to more than 8 schools around Sydney. My knowledge of four languages, along with my intercultural experiences, identity and empathetic nature, drive my passion for writing and advocacy for a better world. As a new mother, I am particularly passionate about female rights (both human and animal) and I’m in a constant state of awe about the miraculous nature of the female being.

Farida Fleming

Mohammed Yassin

Ahmed Aboushabana

Nathaniel Diong

Maria Dimopoulos

Rebecca Harnett

Foad Saadi

Veronica Pardo

Farida Fleming

Farida Fleming is an evaluator committed to supporting positive change and social justice. She has over 20 years of experience working with international donors, NGOs, and government departments to monitor programs and design and implement evaluations and evaluative systems.

Mohammed Yassin

Mohammed Yassin is a former refugee, arriving in Australia in 2003 and settling in Shepparton for two years before moving to Melbourne. He is a board member of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria and a former Commissioner on the Victorian Multicultural Commission. He has completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science with Honours from the University of Melbourne and worked as a cancer research scientist with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

Ahmed Aboushabana

His professional experience has seen him work across industries such as FMCG, Mining, Pharmaceuticals, and Retail. Managing Procurement, Supply Chain and Business Development throughout the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Now, Ahmed runs his own consultancy practice. When not busy with family or work commitments, Ahmed volunteers with many charities and non for profit organisations that focus on empowering people and providing grassroots’ solutions to social issues. Ahmed also provides mentoring and facilitates Job Readiness workshops.

Nathaniel Diong

Nathaniel is the CEO of Future Minds Network, delivering transformative programs in schools world-wide. With the future changing rapidly, today’s employers are demanding new entrepreneurial and 21st century skills. He’s taught 11,000 young people future skills, helped them build businesses and explore emerging industries. 2021 Young Australian of the Year finalist, he is also an international startup mentor, judge, and Giant in Residence at Blackbird – Australia’s leading venture capital firm. Nathaniel wears many different hats, as a TEDx speaker, guest lecturer in entrepreneurship, and ex-consultant.

Maria Dimopoulos

Maria Dimopoulos AM is a nationally and internationally recognised executive leader and expert on multicultural affairs. Maria has over 25 years of experience in cultural diversity, gender equity justice, and human rights.

Rebecca Harnett

Bec is from Noongar boodja Country in the Southwest of Western Australia. She has extensive experience in program and project management. Her skills span project design, scoping and planning through to evaluation and re-design. Bec is currently working with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (AILC) after time with the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI). Prior to these roles, Bec was the Program Manager for the Indigenous Governance Program at Reconciliation Australia.

Foad Saadi

Veronica Pardo

Veronica Pardo has been leading the work on cultural equity in Australia for more than 15 years, heading peak organisations such as Arts Access Victoria and Multicultural Arts Victoria, as champions of change in the arts towards greater equity and justice. She is a highly regarded leader, sought after by institutions to guide the development of interventions aimed at changing organisational culture, structure and practice. She is an experienced leadership and executive development coach, working with individuals to build capacity for culturally safe, high performing teams that enable diverse practice and lived experience.
Veronica is a skilled workshop facilitator who brings both lived and professional experience of diversity to the creation of culturally safe learning and reflection spaces. Her understanding of organisational needs and priorities ensures that this work is both aspirational and practical, leading to meaningful and implementable plans for change.
Veronica has worked with more than 150 cultural organisations focusing on issues such as racial equity and justice, cultural safety, diversity and inclusion. She is currently on the Board of VicHealth and Chair of Next Wave.