Education and Arts

Mahes Sekaram, Associate Degree in Visual Arts and Design, Strathfield

Everyone has a story to tell, perhaps none more so than Mahes Sekaram, who recently completed an Associate Degree in Visual Arts and Design.

Mahes, who at 80, is our oldest graduating student, was born in 1932 in Malaya (now known as Malaysia).  After surviving World War Two, her family returned to Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka).

After completing high school she married, as was the custom, the manager of tea plantation, and lived on the farm where the film 'Elephant Walk' was made, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Mahes raised three children, but after her husband's early death, she had to find work, so became a Montessori teacher. 

She was eventually forced to flee the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka with her children and came to Australia on a Humanitarian Visa.

She taught for many years in Sydney, until her grandchildren went to school.  She then decided to do something for herself.  Mahes had always loved art but never had the opportunity to explore it properly so she enrolled in an Associate Degree in Visual Arts at ACU's Strathfield campus. 

"I really enjoyed studying with the younger students and the tutors.  Everyone treated me as an equal," said Mahes.

Lachlan Warner, Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts, said "Mahes has led a fascinating life.  It's been a privilege to teach her.  She is an inspiration to all of us."