In 2008 I was in Xinjiang province in the northwest of China. Xinjiang was the last province incorporated into modern China by Moa it was mainly full of farmer Muslims from the neighboring….stans they are called Uyghurs, or Uighurs or Uigurs pronounced wee-gars. The CCP is trying to breed out the Uyghurs by subsidizing Han (native Chinese ) Chinese to move to Xinjiang and take all the powerful jobs at the same time jailing (re-educating ) as many Uyghurs as they can without attracting too much criticism. The painting shows a Han Chinese business party at a traditional Uyghur restaurant. The Uyghur restaurant owner is carrying another sheep to be slaughtered for the Chinese through the restaurant, the sheep starts crying when it sees his family members on the plates of the Chinese business party – amixture of fear for himself and grief for his family.
related picture about the Olympic torch relay through Xinjiang on 2008
One Sunday I went to the antiques and collectables market in an empty ground floor carpark -112 West 25th.St. NY. The market was packed with people and covered in other people’s junk. In the far corner there was an empty space only two men and their few items for sale. Later that night I made a drawing of their space.
I had made a picture called ORPANAGES MAKE THE BEST SKYSCRAPERS it was about how the rise in public conservatism had mirrored with the rise of single mothers, absent fathers and public fatherlessness. Orphans – people without fathers were having their need to win affection/approval from a strong white male figure exploited by big corporations – skyscrapers.
HR departments of big corporations look for people who are willing to work unpaid overtime, eat lunch at their desk, take home work and unconsciously absorb the ideals and objectives of the corporation. These people without fathers are still suffering from the wish fulfillment fantasy developed in infancy with their breast feeding mothers and needing a father to help them escape from. Attracted to the coldest and oldest men in suits orphans work their ways to the top of the skyscrapers only to be unfulfilled as they become the object of the needy themselves. Many orphans fall in the climb and chalk drawings circle around the bottom of the skyscrapers like sharks, others take their individually tailored chalk drawings with them in their briefcases.
A garage sale is a presentation of your life to the public, your stall is your life told in objects – junk. The two men in their stall at the antiques and collectables market gave off an immediate air of akward sexuality – they seemed captive to it. The first man caught in the act of stealing glances at a underwear catalogue was wearing a $2 shop wig and seated as if posing for a school photo. The second man wore thick make-up like a clown and wore a bright yellow rain coat that looks more like protection from judgement than the rain.
The two men of uncertain masculinity had surrounded themselves/their lives with ultra male objects ; toy soldiers, army equipment, hunting trophies, super hero comics, gun and hunting magazines. Their stall looked like a plea for us the public to confirm/buy their maleness.
I painted the repo man at art school, it’s a family portrait. As a child my family owned nothing everything was rented or on higher purchase. My father absent emotionally always and physically most of the time was an unreliable and dishonest money manager. My family faced having all our stuff reposessed regularly.
In the picture my father as the repo man is taking back the one thing the family feared the most – the TV. In an effort to stop the repo man an aunty on my father’s side is showing some leg to stop the repo man, while an uncle on my father’s side is offering one of my sisters as a trade for the T.V. My oldest sister has dressed up in her best first communion dress to beg for the T.V. In the background far corner of the room I’m holding tight what I feared most the repo man would take – my pet rabbit.
My mother used me as stick to beat my father with, she praised me for qualities he lacked and pointed out to him his lack of influence – bad influence on me.A feeling of stealing from my father his wife’s affection and the responsibility of being the sole recipient of my mother’s male love made me uncomfortable with female attention and compliments from girls made me cringe. For this reason I didn’t have a girlfriend till my late twenties. People thought I was gay, asexual or just too into painting to notice girls, I probably looked to them as the two men at the market stall looked to me.
Wheelchair ballet school in Vivekananda Rd, Calcutta
Oil on linen, 198 x 213 cm
In 1999 while visiting Calcutta I had to use Vivikananda Road. Vivikananda Road is full
of old, frail men carrying ridiculously oversized loads of stuff on their backs. The legs they
use to stumble around in circles on – all have gamey bandages wrapped around their
knees and ankles, and they are always bumping into each other and blaming the other
guy. That day when I was walking through Vivikananda Road a 20-metre metal pole
smashed into my eye, the pole was invisibly thin and rusty and the old man carrying it
over his shoulder was walking sideways and his head was facing the ground, he started
yelling at me in Hindi. I apologised “sorry for getting my fucking cornea in the way of your
rusty pole “. I made this drawing that night at the hostel. And when I got home I made a
painting on Vivekananda Rd called They opened a plastic surgery next to the mental
In 2008 I was in China just before the Olympics. The torch relay was covered by one TV
station there 24 hours a day and because the Communist government pay everyone the
same they have to reward their bureaucrats with favours such as running in the torch
relay, but there are so many bureaucrats in China that the torch legs are divided into only
5 metres each – so it looks more like pass the parcel than a relay
The torch relay had many photo opportunities to show Chinese culture. On one day the
TV showed the torch passing through a Wheelchair Ballet school so I made a drawing
that night and a painting when I got home, the painting formed part of a multi-panel called
The Olympic torch relay in Xinjiang Province
- The young girls at the Chinese wheelchair ballet school moving around the basketball
court waving their arms in the air and bumping into each reminded me of the elderly men
in Vivekananda Rd. I liked the idea of these children having all their disabilities beneath
them – behind them, and the elderly having them all above them – in front of them. There
is left to them a small space in between to do something, and with that space they do
everything they can.
In Vivekananda Rd. Calcutta all the buildings are battered up and patched up many times over. On both sides of the road and they form a guard of honour for the beaten up and and patched up people who walk down it.
Evolution is an adaption to enviroment, what happens when all enviroments have air conditioning, when food, medicine and clothes are flown in from other enviroments and when the same TV and music and film are experienced everywhere? What happens when people can drive, train, fly to other enviroments? Where does all that evolutionary energy go when there are no longer predators and prey, no longer dangerous climates to adapt to?
In the years between 1582-1591 there were at least 3 people claiming to be the 3rd son of Ivan the Terrible – Prince Dimitry. Before there were photographs and newspapers imposture was pretty easy and many people pretended to be princes and kings and queens and princesses until the original turned up or they were found out. While dangerous if you got caught it was considered a reasonable career for lesser nobles and even for the well-educated middle class. An imposture could travel the country getting free meals, accommodation, gifts and occasionally collect rents and for a time a wife or mistress.
In May 2012 in Hosier Lane, Melbourne there was the case of the three Banksy claimants (three street/graffiti artists) who claimed to be the faceless street artist Banksy.
Evolution is now an arms race between deception and lie detection, a struggle between finding biographical solutions (LIES) to counter systemic reality (TRUTH). People, through imposture (lying), are working their way up the evolutionary ladder. Truth is heavy and can be a burden while climbing the ladder. Lies are light and easily disposable, and therefore more adaptable. As our environments become both physically and culturally the same so too do the top rungs of the evolutionary ladder. Everyone is “imposturing” their way to be the same person.
As if by putting a microphone in front of someone makes them worth listening to (and a rung higher on the evolutionary ladder), so too does having your work seen by the public make you worth knowing (and a rung higher). Hosier Lane for street artists is the shortest evolutionary ladder with the fewest rungs.
In the centre of the picture there are the three Banksy claimants being examined by experts. They look through the claimant’s drawings and notes but it is the lie detector- polygraph, lurking behind them which will decide the matter. Polygraphs fill the streets like telephone boxes once did, and their paper read outs are at first like telephone lines in the air and then like streamers on the ground.
Animals are the first to respond to evolutionary needs and they have moved into Hosier Lane. Crocodiles disguise themselves as big skip bins so as to be regularly receive the attention of the public. Giraffes stretch themselves to look like electric poles and stick out their tongues to impersonate the wires so that birds will sit on them and be licked into the giraffes’ mouths. Snakes swarm into Hosier Lane and they form themselves into groups, so they can impersonate tags and graffiti patterns so as to be photographed and elevated up the evolutionary ladder. What looks like flowers hung in garlands from the sky are birds, which have evolved in to half flowers to catch pollinating insects. Those birds, with better lie detectors, see the snakes impersonating graffiti and feed on the snakes’ greater protein. The sky is full of fake graffiti being flown away by colourless birds.
Inside the Forum Theatre, accompanied by world famous pianola players, mothers queue up for their chance to move up the ladder via a microphone. Their babies circle them in confused panic trying to recognise their own mothers, as the mothers evolve into the same person in front of them. Behind the Forum Theatre at Flinders Street Station fathers queue up to steal superior lost luggage so they can dupe their way up the evolutionary ladder. On the train platforms the passengers waiting are truly believing their own lies as they look only at their own clocks which are different from every other clock, and so their wait is frustrating and endless. Others try to follow recipes timed with their clock only – to be engulfed in burning smoke. Back in Hosier Lane the day that was once all about you – the wedding day – has tip trucks impersonating luxury cars queuing up, then tipping wedding parties into, Hosier Lane for their obligatory photos in front of fake graffiti.
The entire landscape is littered with the wooden planks of advertising billboards – the skeletal remains of industrial imposture – they are being re-used and re-used in different billboards and like a lie they are ever increasingly complicating themselves. A baby climbs a rickety ladder to feed a skinny billboard model. Karate suits with black-belts are sold on every street corner, like professional soccer tops sold at the Victoria Market they grow from the ground like toadstools. The Melbourne Zoo is full of stuffed toy animals instead of real animals as they are easier to maintain and the visitors like their predictability
Brightly coloured lures decorate the landscape, fish leave the water in order to chase down a truckload of them. There is a runway show of the latest fashion lures and people hang proudly from the latest most fashionable lures to have deceived and hooked them. They love the lures not because they believe the lie but because they recognise the lie.
please visit http://artsy.net/artist/banksy.