I’m very grateful to Arts Qld for funding towards my next big exhibition project entitled Australien Future – tales of migrants.
I rediscovered some silent film footage my grandfather (Opa) took on the migrant ship that he and his family were travelling from Holland to Australia on in 1955. The traditional ship board entertainment of the crossing the Equator ceremony involves tarring and feathering new arrivals to the ship, to test their fortitude. I watched in amazement as I realised the words ‘Australien Future’ had been daubed upon my young migrant father’s chest. The poignant Dutch spelling made me again make the silent, sad connections about the change in attitudes to the new arrivals who wish to join us in this country.
The images I pull out hold some promise for further connections between my own migrant history in parallel with the migration stories of the waders that visit our shores. Migratory birds travel huge distances of thousands of kilometres driven by the basic needs for safety and food, and to be able to reproduce and raise their families in a safe place over the harsh conditions of their breeding grounds.
I hope to raise conversations about attitudes to different migrating people groups and why some birds/people are more vulnerable than others.
This exhibition will be held at the Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland from December 2018 – Jan 2019