Opens: February 5th 5.30pm | Closes: February 11th 6:00pm | Mawson's Waterside Pavilion Hobart
"Lost Opportunity is a collaborative humanitarian exhibition between Political artist Jill Nolan and the Tassie Nannas. It portrays the story of asylum seekers and refugees who have come by boat to Australia. Nine paintings form the heart of the exhibit, nine paintings to honour the nine men who have died in Australia’s off-shore prisons. The paintings weave a narrative of Australia’s current refugee policy. Currently refugee policy in Australia has been politicised and enjoys broad bipartisan support. Yet it abrogates our international human rights commitments and demonises and dehumanises the most vulnerable people. It also unnecessarily burdens us economically, causes conflict with good neighbours, divides us as a nation and corrodes our collective compassion.
The exhibition was inspired by the words of Iranian journalist and detainee Behrouz Boochani. He wrote about the four weeks of terrifying limbo asylum seekers experienced prior to their forced removal from the Manus Island prison. Despite the trauma of fleeing torture and violence in their home countries, despite being imprisoned indefinitely without hope, despite their dehumanisation by Australian politicians, Boochani wrote what has been described as a true poet’s manifesto. ‘In the community meetings we held every day we stayed true to the principles of love, friendship and brotherhood. There was nothing greater for us than equality and camaraderie.’
He describes how they committed to care for one another, particularly those who were sick. To share food, even with the camp dogs. When all services were withdrawn, local people smuggled food into the prison and ingenious men dug wells for water. The love between them was palpable, the creativity and innovation inspiring and their kindness shown was humbling.
This is the lost opportunity Australia faces. The motivation to make good, to contribute creatively, the desire for human solidarity, kindness and peace is alive and well in these people. We can do better." ~ Jill Nolan ~
The exhibition opens February 5th at 5.30pm and runs daily 10-6pm until February 11th at Mawson's Waterside Pavilion, Hobart. Contact Exhibition Coordinator Jill Nolan for more information 0488391080.