UNCERTAIN JOURNEYS

Exhibition Invitation

Today was bump in for my exhibition “Uncertain Journeys”.

The image of the boat has been a recurring theme in my painting for three years. Imagining the claustrophobic hull – the hell of uncertainty. The forced migration of people is a defining aspect of the times and the “illegal” journey to Australia by boat is now part of our modern mythology.

I worked night shift with a young man who made such a journey in 2001. Although only 8 years old at the time, he vividly described three nights jammed in with asylum seekers from a variety of countries, sharing the same goal and the same fear in the wilderness of hours huddled together clutching make shift weapons. They had little idea where they were headed, but anywhere was better than the danger and persecution they faced at home.

We have been bombarded with images and discussion in the media regarding the plight of refuges seeking asylum. This reflects upon our collective character as a nation, and resides in our hearts and minds, either to solidify prejudice or to create a powerful sense of injustice.

These pictures have grown out of this turbulence, my perspective – sensitive to the issues, and reflective about the discussion and consequences of government policy.

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2. “Night Wishes” 2014 70.5 x 50.5 cm Oil and enamel on board

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3. DETERANCE NOT PROTECTION 2015 27 X 33 CM Enamel and graphite on paper

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4. “A CERTAIN MARITIME INCIDENT” 2016 120 x 98.5 cm Acrylic on Linen

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5. “ON THE HULL” 2015 25 x 34 cm Gouache on paper

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6. “RISK THE SEAS” 2015 39 x 49 cm Oil on board

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7. “HOPE PEOPLE NOT BOAT PEOPLE” 2015 24 x 29 cm Gouache on paper

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8. “SIEV 221 OFF CHRISTMAS ISLAND” (each 46 x 60 cm)          oil on board

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9. “RAFT ADRIFT No.1” 2015 36 X 24 CM Gouache on paper

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10. “LIVES IN LIMBO” 2015 78 x 37 cm Gouache and enamel on paper

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11. “RALLY FOR REFUGEES No.1” 45.5 x 60 cm Enamel on board

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12. “RALLY FOR REFUGEES No.2” 2015 40 x 50 cm Acrylic on board

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13. “THE BURNING OF SIEV 36” 2016 36 x 47 cm Oil on paper

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14. “THE DROWNED” 2016 76 x 48 cm Gouache and enamel on paper

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15. “BEHIND THE WIRE” 2014 57.5 x 74 cm Enamel on board

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16. “TRANSFEREES” 2014 52 X 47 CM Enamel on paper

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17. “VOYAGE No.1” 2014 98 x 138 cm Acrylic on board

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18. “VOYAGE No.2” 2015 39 x 62 cm Gouache and enamel on paper

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19. “WE HIDE OUR SHAME IN THE WITHHELD NAMES” 2014 48 X 63 cm Enamel on paper

THE SURVIVERS

20. “THE SURVIVORS” 2015 52 X 64 CM Gouache on paper

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21. “IN THE HULL” 2015 46.5 X 48 CM Gouache on board

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22. “AGAINST THE WAVES ” 2015 45 x 29 cm Gouache on paper

The Queue

23. “THERE IS NO QUEUE WHEN YOU RUN FOR YOUR LIFE” 2015 64 x 50 cm Ink, pastel and gouache on paper

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24. “MEMORY OF THE GUN” 2015 38 x 31 cm Gouache and ink on paper

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25. “NATIONAL INTEREST” 2016 78 x 38 cm Gouache and enamel on paper

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26. “UNCERTAIN JOURNEYS” 2014 79.5 x 54 cm Gouache and enamel on board

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27. “DETENTION” 2014 50 x 63 cm Enamel on board

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28. “YOU WON’T BE SETTLED IN AUSTRALIA” 2014 78 x 52 cm Gouache and enamel on paper

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29. “RAFT ADRIFT No.2” 2016 37 X 48 CM Gouache on paper

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30. “ON THE WIRE” 2015 61 x 46 cm enamel on board

More Garden Images

"Cat in the grass" 2015 Acrylic on canvas 80 x 65 cm

“Cat in the grass” 2015 Acrylic on canvas 80 x 65 cm

Even in the minute wilderness in the corner of a modest backyard, there is a certain adventure to be had. Finding creatures that wiggle and squirm under a rock, sticks; stones and dirt that mimic an avalanche; leaves and vines that could be the terrain of a strange new world. A child’s garden is a place where imagination takes refuge, where games find a stage, and where time is strangled by inextricable creepers.

"Child's Garden" 2015 64 x 70cm

“Child’s Garden” 2015 64 x 70cm

"Child's Garden" Mixed media on paper 64 x 70 cm

“Child’s Garden” Mixed media on paper 64 x 70 cm

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Vacillating…

"Self Harm No.3" 2015 Monotype and gouache on paper

“Self Harm No.3”
2015 Monotype and gouache on paper

I have been working on two distinct themes this year. Continuing the Asylum Seeker pictures as well as the Child’s Garden series. I’m vacillating about putting in a proposal for a show “speak for me”, however I remain uncertain as to whether I have the right pictures for such an exhibition.

"Family Group" monotype 2015

“Family Group” monotype 2015

On the weekend I dressed the kids up with head scarves and took photos as reference for a new set of works on paper. I’ve had the idea of working on a family group for sometime but pushing my approach toward a more abstract configuration. I have always been a big fan of Henry Moore’s drawings and sculptures on this subject which will become evident as I post more of the images.

"Suffering" 2015 gouache on paper 50 x 60cm

“Suffering” 2015 gouache on paper 50 x 60cm

Black Eye

"Madonna and Mirror" (bus stop paste-up) acrylic on paper March 2013

“Madonna and Mirror” (bus stop paste-up) acrylic on paper March 2013

I am working on a new street art piece to be placed in a bus shelter that I’m sure Hobit’s and other Middle earth folk would be proud to haunt. This is one from a while back, when I was in the first grasps of the thrill. I do believe  in this venue, as an new and ever expanding canvas, which belongs to the accidental critic. I just need a bit more energy!

Night Wish

"Night Wish" 2014 60 x 50 cm Acrylic and Spray enamel on paper

“Night Wish” 2014 60 x 50 cm Acrylic and Spray enamel on paper

"The Family" 2014 50 x 45 cm Acrylic and Spray enamel on paper

“The Family” 2014 50 x 45 cm Acrylic and Spray enamel on paper

"Adrift" 2014 Acrylic and spray enamel on paper 50 x 60 cm

“Adrift” 2014 Acrylic and spray enamel on paper 50 x 60 cm

I Still Call Australia Home

 

"I Still Call Australia Home" (bus stop paste-up) acrylic on paper February 2013

“I Still Call Australia Home” (bus stop paste-up) acrylic on paper 

A new home, we are here, almost – yet still caged and treated like a problem to be dealt with. Some invisible process continues, digging for a reason to send us back. If they dig deep enough, I’m afraid they might reach my heart, and damage all that is left of me. I came with only the heart to start again. I will offer it to them in place of identity papers with my lineage scribbled in a spiral to the core. Unpinning the paper heart, I shall then let it float on the breeze before snagging on barbed wire. Animals are kept in pens, to stop them escaping and sheep behind fences to stop them demolishing the garden. If I could speak words with wings, they would also be ripped by the sharp edges, then plummet no further than the rocks and white breakers surrounding the Island. “Will you tell me what is wrong” – he breathed – conscious of the physical process in doing so. The voice seemed distant, though he longed to embrace it, to drown in it rather than be left. Is it true that some have sown their lips together?

 

“If you lived in a country governed by a tyrannical regime, and your parents had been killed, and family members had been brutalised and put in prison without trial or in some cases shot without trial, what would you then do? You could not go to the government and ask for papers. That would immediately get you into trouble. So people travel without papers, something recognised in the 1954 Refugee Convention, to which Australia was one of the first signatories.

 

With regard to Australian policy on Nauru and on Manus Island, ask yourself this: are we prepared to allow our government to establish a regime so brutal that the terror it creates would rival the terror from which people flee?”

Recent work on paper.

Recent work on paper.

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Children In Detention

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The United Nations guidelines on the detention of asylum seekers make it clear that children, protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, should not be placed in detention for any length of time. The experience of detention may mimic the experience of human rights abuses, persecution and terror. Detention is highly traumatising for children who are less able to understand explanations as to the reason they have been detained.

Recent picture, part stencil part drawing

Recent picture, part stencil part drawing