Archive by Author | molamdelove

Dirty Nappies

Cameron Hayes, Dirty nappies, 2006, mixed media.

Hardly anyone believes in promised wives and just about no one would use it as an excuse to hurt a child. Hundreds of nappies are brought in on the barge every fortnight. It’s hard to dispose of them, so some people throw their dirty nappies on each others roofs. Once I was sitting under the tree, waiting for the shop to open with some children, when the one still in nappies wanted money. She kept trying to sit on my lap and put her arm around my neck. It felt like when you’re unexpectedly falling and tasted like a mouthful of your own blood. Hardly anyone believes in promised wives, and just about no one would use it as an excuse to hurt a child.


Milikapiti netball bibs

Cameron Hayes, When a fight breaks out everyone is so related and allied that you can’t predict who will take which side even in football games, 2006, mixed media.

When a fight breaks out everyone is so related and allied that you can’t predict who will take which side even in football games. Whenever you’re talking to a Tiwi about other Tiwis you’re always thinking, am I talking about his brother, uncle, nephew, son…

The anthropologist Baldwin Spencer in the 1920s said that when there was a Tiwi battle, people kept changing sides so everyone just went home.

In Milikapiti the dogs hang out in packs

Cameron Hayes, In Milikapiti the dogs hang out in packs, 2008, mixed media, dimensions variable.

In Milikapiti the dogs hang out in packs. When two packs meet each other, the two lead dogs, instead of fighting each other, lie on their backs in acts of total submission, while their three or four bitches stand behind them chewing nappies.

The white men in Milikapiti are all called Les, and their way of being friendly is to convince you that they are not threat to you in any way. One of the white men in charge of water said – when I asked him a question – “What would I know? I’m just a fucking dumb cunt.”, while his wife stands behind him nodding approvingly. When two white Milikapiti men meet, it is a race to see who can degrade themselves as quickly and as completely as possible.

It took the nuns a couple of months to realise that more girls would attend PE class….

Cameron Hayes, It took the nuns a couple of months to realise that more girls would attend PE class if it involved less netballs and more shotguns – 4th May 1975, 2006, oil on linen, 91.5 x 137 cm.

It took the nuns a couple of months to realise that more girls would attend PE class if it involved less netballs and more shotguns.

When a really old Tiwi woman took all her clothes off and danced naked on the stage at the club, another really old Tiwi woman yelled at her, “Put your clothes on Joan, Your possum’s dead”.

Dr Clyde Fenton delivers yet another baby – March 7 1932

Dr Clyde Fenton delivers yet another baby – March 7 1932, 2006, oil on linen, 44.5 x 53.5 cm.

This is Dr Clyde Fenton. In the early 1930s he brought his own broken down old plane and made himself the first flying doctor in the NT. He attended Xavier College, and although he did graduate as a medical doctor in 1925 from Melbourne University, he was a self-taught pilot. A disaster to the Civil Aviation Department, but a hero to the Tiwi people, as he was their only hope for medical assistance at the time.

Despite having a free medical clinic, most Tiwis won’t get help until the absolute last minute. In Milikapiti there are 2 nurses and a doctor flies in on Mondays. Just about everyone walks around with something bandaged.

This is Doctor Clyde Fenton. In the early 1930s he brought his own broken down old plane and made himself the first flying doctor in the NT. According to his autobiography, Clyde Fenton’s sister died in China in 1936 while being visited by their mother. On the day he heard, Fenton flew from Katherine to Darwin, welded an extra fuel tank to his plane, put another fuel tank in the passenger seat, and flew from Darwin to China across the Timor Sea during cyclone season, while Japan were fighting with China, without any landing permits or visas, and without telling anyone or bringing any one, and anyone who complained was some kind of “blasted dim-witted bureaucrat”.

In the South Pole the explorers were so afraid of not having enough food…

In the South Pole the explorers were so afraid of not having enough food for winter that they starved to death in summer, 2001-2, oil and glitter on linen, polyptych 74 x 100 inches overall.

Polar explorers, including the famous competitors, Scott and Amundsden, would camp on the coast, and then set out on dog-powered sleds to the South Pole in spring. Many of the explorers were so terrified of being stranded inland during the Antarctic winter that they would not eat their supplies during the summer and consequently starved to death with a sled full of food. Other explorers were so aware that they depended on their dogs’ health to guarantee their return that they gave their own share of food to their dogs. Many starved and skeletal explorers were pulled by overfed, fat dogs. The South Pole from 1910 to 1920 was covered with dog shit and dead explorers.

For these polar explorers, at first summer was their favorite season, but they could not enjoy it because they knew it was all down hill from there; so spring became their favorite because it was leading up to summer. But summer had become their least favorite season so winter became their favorite because all the good seasons were to come. Although it was cold and miserable, at least they could look forward to improvement. These explorers felt it was better to always be suffering with the hope of things getting better than comfortable with the fear of things getting worse .This story is about people who use unhappiness as insurance against disappointment.

The panel on the left is of the explorer, Scott, as a young man already displaying signs of his compulsive behaviour by showing his envious sisters his uneaten Easter egg in July, though now it has turned powdery, white, flyblown and thoroughly inedible. A snowflake which has drifted across from the snowy central panel to summer, magnifies this detail. and tearfully covering his new schoolbooks on Christmas day.

The middle panel shows the South Pole, a mountain of frozen dog shit, surrounded by flags that didn’t quite make it. Young women endlessly exercise on their sleigh pulled by old fat ladies, the misery from fear of aging making the adjustment to old age more bearable and even a relief. Explorers are driven on sleighs pulled by their fears of the future. Cows, whose udders are bursting with milk, drag the coffins of their children to the pole.The final destination – the pole itself – is a flyblown mountain of dog shit, a result of misspent resources and excess energies of polar expedition.

The right hand panel shows the explorers’ funeral and finally the meeting of an older Scott and Amundsden in the frozen section of the supermarket in heaven. In the background are plump sleigh dogs that Scott would not eat to save himself. As in the race to the pole, Amundsen has arrived first. He has all the memories of his journey captured in the shiny mirrors of blocks of melting ice.

In the top panel, the cast of the story takes a bow to the applause of the seals and bouquets of frozen fish.

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Detail 3. Hayes often uses photos to assist in capturing expressions and gestures. The young Scott here is based on a photo of the artist himself as a young child. The ballerinas are friends, and his sister, from different photographs of them as youngsters at ballet performances.

Today hardly anyone could forget yesterday

Today hardly anyone could forget yesterday by Cameron Hayes. 1996, oil on linen, 66 x 83 cms.

Memories take a more solid form for Australians in 1788. In fact today hardly anyone could forget yesterday. Newly landed settlers can not be bothered to spend the energy in having to re-establish their social identity in Australia. They go about merely trying to convince people of their past proven trustworthiness and charm rather than actually demonstrating it.

Dean Wallis manages his own board of testimonials clearly written for all to see, but only from the vantage point of the ocean – Europe (yesterday). Countess Beckendorff of Berlin writes “Mr Wallis proved to be most enjoyable company at parties which I attended”. W Dawson-Smith of Forthampton House writes “Mr Wallis was regarded as one of the most desirable and fashionable men of our social group”.

In England in 1788 there were no police. Everybody wanted police but the French had already thought of it and the British Parliament could not bear to be seen to be copying the French. As a result British citizens had to catch those that had stolen from them, collect the evidence against them and then try them in court. A baker who had a dollar’s worth of bread stolen from him could spend up to a week getting justice. More energy was expended in pursuing the past rather than living in the present.

In Australia the transported British legal system perpetuates a need for punishment for personal pain where victims tirelessly pursue their offender. Malnourished settlers chase a mobile court of law encircled with hanging convicts in order to throw their vegetables at them. People busily hang their perceived wrongdoers up everywhere. In Australia in 1788 wood meant for the foundations of buildings were being used to make gallows.

Cameron Hayes: “This is about a world of people who could not deal with things present without using the past to contextualize them.

When the Whites first came to Australia, they couldn’t be bothered having to re-establish their position, character, or personality all over again as they had done in England.

So most of them spent their energy convincing people that they were really charming back home rather than having to start being charming all over again here.

Most new Australians carried testimonials from people back in England, saying that they were really funny and charming, that they were the life of many parties back home, and should automatically be regarded as desirable company by anyone who meets them in Australia.”

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Mathias Ulungura captures Hajime Toyashima – 19th February 1942

Mathias Ulungura captures Hajime Toyashima – 19th February 1942, 2006, oil on linen, 167.5 x 254 cm

“The first prisoner of war captured on Australian territory was Hajime Toyashima, who crash-landed on the Tiwi Islands on the way home from bombing Darwin. He staggered to the beach where he saw lots of Tiwi women out crabbing in low tide. Hajime grabbed one of the babies left on the dry sand as a hostage. The Tiwi women just thought he was offering to carry the baby, so they returned to the community with Hajime following behind them, yelling in Japanese with a gun to the baby’s head.

When Hajime started to hear the Tiwi men, he handed the baby back to the grateful Tiwi women and ran off. Eventually he was caught by Matthias Ulungara who, before delivering him to the Whites, toured him around all the communities.

Tiwis only get bits and pieces of White culture, phrases that fall from the sky, like the leader of the tough gang who irons his Celine Dion tour T-shirt, or when a friend visited me from Germany, an old Tiwi woman wished her good luck and, “Heil, Hitler”.”

The link below takes you to an article about this true story. The first prisoner of war in Australia during WWII was captured on Melville Island by Mathias Ulungura. Click here to read the article by Catherine Schwerin.

Downed Japanese fighter aircraft A6M2, number 5349, source: Australian War Memorial. This image is in the public domain

The Cambridge nursing home won the freeway mural project

The Cambridge nursing home won the freeway mural project by Cameron Hayes. 2001-2, oil and glitter on linen, 84 x 66 inches.

The local government wanted to have a mural painted on the massive columns which hold up their new freeway. The Cambridge nursing home won the freeway mural project through their winning tender. Each resident was assigned an area of column whose image would link up with the area next to them to form one picture.

Each retiree planned only their own personal sections and started making their art without consulting one another. Despite their age it didn’t occur to any of them that other people may not fit in with their own plans, and unexpected events may impact on their grand vision.

One artist is furious to find that his Raphael-like cherubs are going to be sullied by his neighbour’s pornographic winged women, whereas the best the guy below can think of is to just paint every woman he can still remember sleeping with.

An old man has spent the remaining time of his life making a space suit and engineering a complicated plan to travel into space only to find that his wife painted only a single propeller plane. An Indian resident has painted a pantheon of Hindu gods while his Muslim neighbour painted a cart pulled by devils leading the cart into hell.

A lot of the residents are not sure how much of their remaining time to spend on something they may not see finished or could even be painted over. They decide to live in the moment and eat the painted seeds on the mural farm, smash open the piggy banks and eat the cow’s meat rather than save it for its milk.

The senile who loiter around the bottom of the freeway have broken bits of plate hoping to catch a skerrick of the cooking cow. Others try to break in to the windowless deserted car wrecks with coat hangers that have been dumped at the bottom of the freeway desperate for a feel of the steering wheel.

At the top of the freeway everybody’s different perceptions of God makes it impossible for the angels to build a cohesive rail line to heaven.

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To prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights

To prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights by Cameron Hayes. 1999, oil & glitter on linen, 60 x 72 inches.

In Ancient Rome an individual believes his own uniqueness must be elevated and recognised, and has the power to do it. The Emperor believes he is God, and to prove he was the only God, Caligula had all the pilots killed and still made the people take their flights. Not just the senators but even the army knew that Caligula had gone too far and had to be assassinated.

Caligula had already ordered that all the heads be cut off the statues of the gods and heroes in Rome and the provinces, and had them replaced with factory-produced busts of his own image. But the statue of himself he had designed for the biggest synagogue in Rome was too big, and would damage the synagogue when pushed into it. As each bureaucrat delayed the statue’s construction (knowing it would cause a public riot) they were killed.

Caligula defined God as a man who had power over every person and spent his time controlling every individual, their luck and coincidence. After Caligula had given himself everything he wanted, he then decided to tie ropes to every individual which led back to his own patio. The despot Caligula, whose personality traits have morphed him into a Mr Burns for a not so subtle contemporary personality portrait, is not limited in expression by laws or regulations but ultimately by his own lack of imagination and ability.

Cameron Hayes: “One night Caligula had a dream that he was a god. The following morning he was frustrated that nobody else had the same dream. Fortunately, Caligula had all the money and power in the world, so he was able to convince people he was a god with his display of influence on daily life, his control of luck, and his manipulation of the past and present.

What Caligula wanted most of all was to have an effect on people, be it good or bad. In pre-science Rome, Caligula knew that chance and luck played the greatest part in people’s lives, and that the older gods got all the credit for it.

Caligula knew that if he could manufacture luck and, if he could apply luck, then he would be the one god to replace the marble and bronze gods that were more famous than Caligula.”

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