Although it feels like it could just keep going Cameron Hayes’ show finishes tomorrow! Two further articles on the final stretch officially confirms this show has been an ART CONTROVERSY! Who would have thought? Apparently no-one for the past 8 years, but who knew? Melbourne City Council joined in on the act by informing the artist that his exhibition listing was taken down from their website ‘What’s On’ as it breached the Code of Conduct for “appropriated Indigenous ceremonial styles and clan motifs”. However, no-one from the council visited the show, they couldn’t explain how it appropriated styles or motifs, they couldn’t provide an explanation of due process, nor could they provide any recourse for rebuttal. Interesting! But at any rate, it provided further media attention, an extension of the show, and more visitors.
Read the article below!
“The humour found in the incongruous meeting of cultures has also been used in the soft sculpture installation The Hunters, 2012. Three elderly women are going hunting. They are wearing inappropriate t-shirts. Those who have ever lived in remote communities would recognise such a scene. Often there is only one shop with limited stock, usually the clothing range is t-shirts featuring popular rap bands, song titles and slogans, or multi-national brands. Here Hayes has used the lyrics from a song called “Horny” (yes, really) by Mousse T, a ludicrously banal pop song that was very popular on Australian radio. The figure is also carrying a ‘Hello Kitty’ bag, one of the world’s largest brands it has permeated nearly every remote corner on earth! The incongruity of the cuteness, the inappropriate slogans, the blood, and carcases – it displays the unique way of life, the idiosyncrasies of the Tiwi people. Hayes also uses this simple, funny scene as a metaphor for what he describes as an ‘ill-fitting culture’. The European choices, the white Australian lifestyle just doesn’t quite meet the women’s needs.” – Marielle Soni, June 2012
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.
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”.
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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