Wednesday, 29 August 2012


The squares exhibition held at the Strathnairn Arts Association Gallery in Holt, Canberra, is on soon.  I started working on these when I first found out about the exhibition and bought my entry packs.  The essence of the exhibition is that you buy the canvases as part of the squares entry pack and produce works to go into the exhibition on these 30x30cm squares.  Initially all my ideas where about little boxes and geeks but my real inspiration and creativity started working when I thought about statements I felt compelled to make.  So I have one motivated by refugees, one by surveillance and another by domestic abuse.

Initial sketches above: the far right was based on a Confucius quote "He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount".  Middle was a preliminary sketch for the 'Stats' painting.  Right was a geek inspired idea with a male and female square thumb wrestling which I was going to call "Boys wee standing up, girls wee sitting down".  My son came home from school and suddenly started making all these assertions about things that my daughter couldn't do because she was a girl.  We overcame this for now by saying the only difference between boys and girls is girls wee sitting down and boys wee standing up.    

Stats.  There will be things in each house for statistical representation of domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and alcoholism.  While researching for this work I discovered the following which I will be representing symbolically in the painting.  15% of households are filled with domestic violence, of this 4% is committed against men, 14% of children are sexually abused, of this percentage over 70% is perpetrated by a parent, 27% of Australian children are subjected to physical, emotional abuse or neglect.

 'The waves are made of hands' is symbolic of the loss of lives escaping persecution, civil war or famine on a perilous journey to Australia.  Ever since the Vietnam war Australia has seen refugees making a dangerous and often disastrous trip by boat to seek refuge.  The Howard government turned these asylum seekers into 'boat people' and fueled hatred, fear and racisism for these "illegal immigrants" who were flooding in via unprotected boarders.  This worked nicely to get people believing the only way to stop this unabating tide was to re-elect him.
This is more inspired by the idea of painting squares or geeks for the Squares exhibition, I was going to have them holding cables, folders and xbox controllers but I think this is working out.  The problem now is I've lost my creative motivation and need to get it back before the 12th of September.

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