Tag Archive | boat people

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.

The Approach to Cameron Hayes – 14 Kurdish refugees…

here is an article my friend wrote about my Milikapiti works. the show is on at Dark Horse Experiment at 110 franklin st in Melbourne from 1st august until september 2.

this is the article here – ARTICLE

this is a painting from the show.

14 Kurdish refugees land in Milikapiti and ask, “is this Australia?” – 4th November 2003, 2012, oil on linen, 61 x 81 cm

on the 4th. of november 2003 14 kurdish refugees landed on the beach at milikapiti. one of the kurds yelled out from the boat ‘IS THIS AUSTRALIA ‘. the tiwis on the shore were not sure because the australian government was disowning the bits of itself that could be used to help people like the refugees.

this is an article from SMH about this story

Quote from marielle’s article about this work:

“The latter work referencing the sinister use of marketing in politics and the media. Based on a true story, a group of refugees were spotted on a vessel in the bay at Milikapiti. The conservative Howard Government of the time did a fantastic job of instilling a fear and hatred campaign of refugees through the media, basically branding them as potential terrorists and possible carriers of unknown diseases. It worked. So pervasive was this strategic political message that it even reached across the nation from capital cities to remote small communities. So here we have asylum seekers in the guise of The Raft of the Medusa, instead of ragged cloth they are waving brand name t-shirts representing our new dominant culture – the well marketed Brand. Would they have more success by appealing, not to empathetic fellow people, not to other displaced victims, but to those who like the same brands – who do you identify with? Are you Nike or more of a Burberry? Are you Apple or PC? Are you Right or Left?”

The rescued refugees had to live off what was on the container ship…The Tampa painting

The rescued refugees had to live off what was on the container ship, which because it was headed for Australia was full of fake Italian fashions and pet food by Cameron Hayes, 2002, oil on linen, 66 x 89 inches.

Later still in the year 2002 a container ship has rescued 300 refugees, including women and children, from their sinking wooden boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The refugees’ boat and the container ship were both headed for Australia so the container ship continued toward this destination. However, the Australian Government does not allow the ship to dock because it does not want to accept the refugees. To complicate the situation the ship’s captain will not unload the containers unless the government takes responsibility for the refugees. So the rescued refugees had to live off what was on the container ship, which because it was headed for Australia was full of fake Italian fashions and pet food.

The importers who bought the merchandise are losing money, they fear the imported fashions will go out of fashion and the dog food will go off. So they lobby the Government and convince them to let the ship drop anchor close enough to the shore for them to negotiate with the refugees for the protection and hand over of the merchandise.

On the container ship itself, the refugees are happily adapting to their new environment. They start breaking into the containers to eat the dog food and begin wearing the fake Italian fashions with delighted aplomb. They have made comfortable homes out of the half empty containers, but the diet of pet food has begun to give them a domestic complacency.

Because of the similarities between container houses the mothers have to stay at home and with a metal spoon tap an empty pet food tin so the family can find their way home by following their pet cat. The refugees wait by cat stops to catch a cat home. The empowered and spoilt fattened cats become dangerous when their territory is threatened by new born refugee babies.

Meanwhile the importers and elderly Australian citizens have gathered on the shore. The importers are trying to convince the refugees to sell them their Italian fashions in order to recoup some of their costs. The refugee women and men model the clothes on improvised cat-walks to get the best price and to sell t-shirts with the fashion labels printed on them. The elderly Aussies are demanding some pet food for their beloved starving cats and dogs while still trying to protect their borders with garden hoses.

The scene is clouded with smoke wafting from the barbequing steaks which the refugees are blowing on to the crowd to help them sell sausages to the people on the shore. Pavlovian bells are used to retrain the elderly into welcoming rather than fearing the refugees.

Detail 1

Detail 2