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.
THE FIGHT BETWEEN MOOMBA AND LENT 2019 by Cameron Hayes – Australian Galleries, Sydney 3-22 Sept.
In Bruegel’s 1559 painting THE FIGHT BETWEEN CARNIVAL AND LENT the public performance of piety (LENT) is shown to be undermined by suspicions fakery and signs of evil and therefore as bad as the public performance of sin in the Carnival. The two behaviours portrayed in Carnival then Lent lead to the question- can you pay for bad behaviour with good? Can you buy permission for bad behaviour with public performances of good behaviour?
picture of bruegel’s
In THE FIGHT BETWEEN MOOBA AND LENT the government – via the Moomba parade – gifts the people the opportunity for a public performance of their acceptance of cultural diversity and their tolerance of racial and religious difference.
Australians are accepting of the idea of consistent appalling behaviour being insured against with very public displays of much less expensive good behaviour: Richard Pratt’s PRATT FOUNDATION , Shane Warne’s THE SHANE WARNE FOUNDATION, the major banks with their charitable partnerships and sponsorship programs
Melbourne city is the backdrop for the Moomba parade but the city buildings are barely visible now amongst the growing stacks of shipping containers. Everything Australian’s want comes from overseas shipping containers : fashion, music, cars, tv, acclaim….. and everything Australians fear comes from overseas ; wars, poverty, queues, sharks, refugees……
Australians are constantly told they are the “ lucky country”. When everything you have is because of luck then nothing you have is earned and therefore nothing you have is owned and everything can be taken by unlucky people from unlucky countries. At the back of the Moomba parade representatives of different ethnic communities are stealing our natural resources they have hooked up their toasters to our power lines and dragging the power poles along the parade route.
The Tampa float shows the stranded asylum seekers still living in their Tampa container building more and more empty letterboxes and feeding on a single pig and cow.
The children overboard float has two women “dressed as Muslims “ turning small paddle steamer wheels with babies tied to them through the water below.
Lindy Chamberlian’s Seventh Day Aventism was enough to forfeit her burden of guilt re; baby killing. The Lindy Chamberlian float has two bikini models wearing dingo costumes fighting over Azaria’s jumpsuit underneath a clothesline heavy with dingo bitten infant jumpsuits.
The 2007 fake flyer from the fake Islamic Federation of Australia created and distributed by members of the liberal party to create new fear of Islam and inflame existing hatred of muslims is celebrated in the next float. The man in the float wearing a fake beard and wig continues to hand out the flyers, the float is decorated with suitcases ,planes and bombs.
The parade has been held up because a boy riding the Australian Mining float has become trapped under the wheels of that float. While his father leans onto the float to get a closer look the mother meets the boys outstretched hand with a lit cigarette.
The African gang fear is sponsored by channel seven and represented by giant giraffes around whose necks hang the front doors they have broken into and in their mouths they are devouring fluffy white sheep.
To continue the fear dolphins are dressed up as sharks and white men in life saver costumes are everywhere to sedate, lead and justify our need for protection. The Aboriginal Wheelchair ballet school celebrates our ability to decorate a few aboriginals for achievments in sports and the arts in order for us to be able to ignore the major problems of the many. The parade seperates immigrant Australians on one side and older 2nd., 3rd and 4th. Australians on the other.These older whiter Australians wear head bands and wrist bands and tennis outfits. For white Australians , Australia is something they remember not something they experience.