Artworks tell of realities of seeking asylum in Australia
TWO looming inflatable palm trees sit in the middle of the exhibition room, casting a postcard-like shadow across the wall.
At first glace something is off with the centre piece in Alex Seton's 'Last Resort' exhibition; the inflatable trees are carved from marble.
Alex's intriguing piece is a new exhibition showcased at the Rockhampton Art Gallery, and his art has a very real message.
"This is part of a body of work I have been making on asylum seekers. My mum fled an authoritative regime in the late 1960s, so from that side of the family there was always a sense of gratitude that Australia took them in," Alex said.
"Now we're making choices that we are hardline in our politics around the issue of asylum seekers. As an artist; what those choices mean, who we're becoming as a nation, what it means consequentially later on; are big question marks.
"I am interested in the idea of reminding people of the humanity at the heart of the issue."
Featured in the exhibition are marble versions of a deflated pool toy raft, life jacket, an ore, and of course the trees mounted on rubble.
He said the contradiction of having instruments used to be inflated for rescue, rendered useless by having them set in marble; reflected the realities of seeking asylum.
"There's obviously a sense of sardonic utopia, dystopia. But the idea of that aspiration is there none the less. Australians lead lives of peaceful opportunity and wealth, and it's very easy to take that for granted."
Drawing a Crowd
The Rockhampton Art Gallery has hosted some amazing exhibitions over the years.
Here are the Top 5 most popular:
1. Cream: Four decades of Australian art
2. Lynley Dodd: A retrospective
3. Sam Jinks: Body in Time
4. Snap! Crocodile culture
5. Sense of Occasion: 50 years of party dresses from the Darnell Collection