What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists

What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists

Cameron Hayes
What Happens When Pretend Politicians Pretend to Be Terrorists, 2011
Oil on linen
66 x 136 inches
Photo: Bill Orcutt
Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

In the week of the 2007 Australian federal election, it was clear that the Liberal Party were going to lose power to The Labor Party after 11 years in government. The electorate of Lindsay was made up of middle to lower earning white Australians with pockets of immigrants and first generation Australians from the Middle East. The seat was held by Jackie Kelly for 11 years, but she was retiring and hoping to pass the seat onto a Liberal Party colleague, Karen Chijoff, on the Thursday before Saturday’s election. The husbands of Kelly and Chijoff were seen putting pamphlets in the Lindsay voters’ letter boxes.

The husbands had invented THE ISLAMIC AUSTRALIA FEDERATION. They printed pamphlets from this fake organization, thanking the Labor Party for seeking clemency for terrorists, building more mosques in Llndsay, and for supporting the Bali bombers. The husbands put the fake pamphlets in letterboxes in the poorest white areas.

This painting is about what happened in the local girl’s school and the local shopping mall when the white parents thought that the “Islamic Australia Federation” was targeting Lindsay to be an Islamic/Sharia enclave, with mosques on every corner, bombs in every bus shelter, and most frightening, women with scarves on their heads. The white fear of Lindsay becoming Islamic spread to the schools and made the most vulnerable (Muslim girls) the most accountable for the fear. The Muslim girls already in semi-denial were forced to completely deny their identity.

They had to leave home in traditional dress and change at bus stops and the shopping mall, semi-naked in front of predatory white men – cleaners, gardeners, and business men. The girls had to hunt around shopping malls for the cheapest possible versions of non – Muslim dress: singlet tops, short shirts, high heels, and brand names. While their parents, particularly their fathers, did laps at the mall, anti-clockwise, oblivious to the children’s struggle.

Once the girls had given up their identity and started to desire to be someone else, they became nothing and extremely vulnerable to drugs, alcohol, boys, and brands.

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