Posted on November 18, 2017
The refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island are refusing to leave the compound for fear of their lives. The Australian Government is systematically closing the centre down, shutting off power, ceasing supplies, pulling down fences. The hundreds of asylum seekers remaining stay on in increasingly desperate circumstances.
“As well as the constant threat of being told to move to unsafe housing, the systematic removal of services is also adding to the mental trauma of the men here. The authorities removed the public phones almost two months ago and many men have no contact with their families. The main fences were taken down from Bravo and Charlie compounds and some buildings have been demolished. The canteen is closed to the majority of men and they have stopped providing fruit, sugar, coffee and paper cups. Men who never smoked before and who have become addicted to cigarettes can no longer get them – I cry seeing the men smoking dry leaves and papers.”
Posted on September 24, 2017
Posted on March 30, 2016
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.
Category: Art, Asylum Seekers, Australia, Belconnen Arts Centre, Boat People, Canberra, Exhibition, Human Rights, PAINTINGS, Politics, Refugees, Uncategorized Tagged: Activism, Art, Art work, Asylum Seekers, Australia, Australian Art, Belconnen Arts Centre, Boat People, Canberra, Exhibition, Human rights, Paintings, protest art, Refugees
Posted on December 24, 2014
It would have been good to put together this exhibition, but it is time to move on now. Thinking about a broader canvas, a “Duty of Care” series that could incorporate recent themes as well as those images still to come. Of course I imagine large monolithic works, gallery pieces that will never see the inside of a gallery. However first I must make space in the garage, a depressing exercise that fills me with dread!
I’ve worked mostly on paper this year. A size that can be worked on my lap in the lounge room. “The Voyage” was finished last night, and is the last of these pictures.
Posted on September 27, 2014
The image of the boat has been a recurring theme in my painting for two years. Imagining the claustrophobic hull – the hell of uncertainty. I worked night shift earlier in the year 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 no idea where they were headed, but for Jamil, fleeing recruitment by the Taliban in Afghanistan, anywhere was a better option than the home he had known. For his parents returning to the motherland remains desirable if not attainable as yet, but not for Jamil, having grown up in Australia, he is now an Aussie, studying medical science at uni, contemplating a gap year, and working shifts to top up the coffers. The idea of returning to Afghanistan now seems foreign, although he wears his ‘boat person’ badge with honor and a wry smile.
Category: Art, Asylum Seekers, Australia, Boat People, Canberra, Human Rights, Paste-up, photography, Refugees, Street Art Tagged: Activism, Art, Art work, Asylum Seekers, Australia, Australian Art, Australian Politics, Boat People, Canberra, Human rights, Painting, Paste-up, Refugees, Siev, Stencil Art, Street Art, Wheatpaste
Posted on September 21, 2014
Posted on August 23, 2014
The transformation comes and goes, sometimes gradually, sometimes at more regular intervals, like the sun falling on wing tips and then it is all consuming. Those beams of light exposing uncertainty, blue fading to leave the shape of a new painting, gleaming, full of promise but not yet real, just an idea. Outlined against the sky, brilliant like metal but in equal part, already a failure. Work consumes me – my day job takes almost as much as I can give. Then with the promise of a shiny playground, I flounder and stall. The new remains unformed, just a list on a page, and my lack of courage or energy to start the new series torments me. I replace uncertainty by diving for pearls, those last illusive images that resonate with an accumulated honesty.
Pictures can become like a dialogue that has been over rehearsed. The transition from subject to subject then becomes a device to avoid endless repetition. Knowing the right time to change direction is an art within the art. Whose eye is upon you? Whose attention do you seek? It’s the same old argument – paint for your self, or paint for others? The madness is still strong 27 years on and the ever watchful bird hovers expecting change, demanding success, something that can be measured. Then everything before is relegated, no longer living for me, yet still raw and painful. Angst is like over salting the cook pot, too much will spoil the sincerity. I guess I’m looking for that one image that sums up the whole body of work. A picture that once achieved makes the necessity to continue the subject redundant. Unless I could sell the stuff in which case I would be motivated by commercial concerns, I suppose.
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