A slightly strange title you may say for this writing: A privilege, yet slightly empty, yet that is how I feel at the moment.
After putting in a monster effort for I Want My Mum To Come, producing work which people have described as some of my best yet (which I agree with), and seeing people engage and react to it the way I wanted – still there is that little voice causing me concern.
First the good things: Great show of over 115 pieces between Jackie and myself; the standard of each piece is strong; the desire to communicate the emotion and humanity of the people who have been so badly wronged has been very successful; a great venue; a good roll up on opening night; strong support form NGOs; and a deep desire to not just leave it there – to allow this voice for our world to grow and expand.
But: Getting the people that NEED to witness this visual window into the refugee’s lives to actually see it – that is another whole problem. Particularly, the closed minded middle class suburbia (the everyday people like you and me) who are so happy in their daily lives, but by swallowing the cheap cliches and political rhetoric are destroying this whole mass of people’s lives here in Australia. This has been gnawing away at me, as that was one of the original visions of this whole exercise: to educate. But how can you educate (or get those horses to the drink from the water) if you can’t get them there in the first place. They (almost everyone) in Sydney suburban life are too comfortable, and do not want to step out of their little zone – they like ‘their story’. This is something we MUST challenge and change, otherwise the negative repercussions of individualistic capitalism (which our society is based) is just going to get worse and worse. But much more of that later in posts to come.
Fortunately, one person reminded me: ‘the pebble in the pond’. Even the smallest pebble thrown into the pond will have its waves rolling out long after it has gone. Great encouragement and very true, especially when it is based on compassion and a heart for humanity.
Even though the show finishes up this weekend (ironically on election day) at the Australian Catholic Uni @ Strathfield, I will have a virtual tour of it online very soon. Even though much of its power is diluted by seeing it on a screen and not immersing oneself in the experience, the points are still valid and the story is still there for those with ears to hear.
Posted in: Amnesty International, asylum seekers, Australian Catholic University, Chidzey, compassion, exhibition, installation, Jackie Benney, sculpture, Story, Villawood Detention Centre, what is your story?