Seeking Asylum Through Art

"Journey's" 2014 each 84 x 64 cm Gouache, ink and enamel on paper

“Journey’s” 2014 each 84 x 64 cm Gouache, ink and enamel on paper

  Night after night, absorbing the news, one politician proclaiming indignation over the oppositions antics, watching the latest “move to the right” over asylum seeker policy, and feeling exasperated that my sense of social justice is again being offended by the elected governments rhetoric and fervent desire to punish people arriving by boat in the name of boarder security. I don’t want to be someone remonstrating on the couch. I don’t know what it is like to be a refugee. I’ve never had to flee for my life, to leave my homeland and all that I hold dear. I can read stories, and I can reflect on the divergent arguments that pervade our media. What good is art in the face of such human suffering? I quote here from a passionate defence mounted by my wife Catherine Jean-Krista in the face of such criticism –

 “That sublime, profound transcendental thing…. or that great, satirical, biting and devastatingly insightful portrayal….. or that beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, emotion-inducing or soothing vision…. or that all encompassing installation style experience which places you in another’s shoes…. that culturally resonant, tradition-invoking form…. or that empathic link created through the sudden illumination of another perspective…. that temporal and ephemeral created moment…. or that eternally resonant phrase… or that medium that communicates across language barriers…. Art.”

 

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Boat People…

“Boat People” 2013 Spray Enamel and Gouache on paper 46 x 60 cm

An image from my Boat People series which has been selected as a finalist in this years Cliftons Art Prize for the Canberra region. These pictures are derived from images and attitudes in the Australian media on the topic of Boat People. I am interested in the general public discourse surrounding the treatment and processing of asylum seekers and seek to elucidate a deeper appreciation for the sacrifice, hope and misery of the refugee. I work with a variety of traditional mediums, ranging from acrylic, oil and gouache to stencils and pasted-up street art.