It has been a while since I last was able to produce any images for this blog. My time has been taken up making an animated video for a local festival – Light on the Fringe. That has been shown a few times both during the festival, and at events afterwards. I have also been involved in making two new lectures, one on indications for radiological investigations for Physiotherapists, and the other about my digital artworks, to be given next week for doctors at our local hospital. It was also a time of importance to me – my first solo exhibition at the Umbrella Gallery. This is a publically funded gallery set up to encourage emerging artists like myself. At the same time my son has asked me to make him a dining table! This is a long-term project. I’m using recycled hardwood from an old work-bench (with rusty nail holes and saw-cuts to be included) and am setting four beautifully figured sand-stone slabs into the top. All these projects require acquisition of new skills, whether in animation techniques, or in learning how to polish stone. So, my life in so-called retirement has been busy.
This dark image comes in mid-2015 at a time of crisis in the Middle East when millions of refugees have taken to the road. Over 5 million Syrian refugees registered with UNRWA. Syrians are migrating into Europe fleeing the war. Australia has offered to take a small number.
Other countries such as Sweden and Germany have opened their gates whilst others like Hungary have slammed them shut. This is ironic when Hungary who had so many refugees migrate to other countries in their time of need is turning its back. The Gulf State countries are ignoring the problem. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait are by far the richest nations in the region because of the gargantuan oil reserves they reside on. Yet they have not taken any refugees. Israel has refused to take a single refugee. The crisis has also emboldened racists to be open with their anti-Arab bigotry. German neo-Nazis have attacked refugees and shelters created for asylum-seekers. It is possible to draw historical parallels to both Europe and the US treatment of Jewish refugees before and during the Holocaust.
I attempted to produce an image showing how people are being torn apart by the terrible situation in which they find themselves. The original X-ray came from a young Ethiopian man, a refugee, accepted into Australia years before, who presented with lobar pneumonia. This is a condition caused by a bacterium, strep pneumonia, and can be quickly lethal.
The X-ray has been repeatedly copied and overlaid to impart depth and solidity to the central figure, it shows movement not from the frying pan into the fire rather from heat into the cold symbolising the way so many people seeking help have been turned back, shut out.
Even without the back story I find the fragmented solidity of this image personally disturbing.