Solo Exhibition Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney
20 July – 10 August 2013
On 15 December 2010, a boat laden with refugees seeking asylum in Australia crashed on the steep rocky limestone cliffs of Christmas Island. The local inhabitants stood helpless on the cliff edges throwing ropes and videoing the disaster on their mobile phones. These images became front page news and it was the first tragedy of its kind to hit the major media in Australia. These paintings tell the stories of some of the women who survived.
I have photographed images of sections of the paintings with my mobile phone to make a stop-motion animation Welcome mat for pirates. The crude animation with cut out printed images of figures in the paintings began at 5.50am (the local time on Christmas Island when the first emergency calls were made) and finished two hours later, corresponding to when the boat sank.
Referencing historical ways of communicating over long distance, I used my own voice to whistle, hum and sing in different octaves to make the soundtrack to the work, which was recorded at the time the images were captured on video camera. The work is used unedited except for one scene that depicts the only person who jumped on to the cliffs and survived. The animation was shown on a mobile phone sitting on the crude structure that the animation was made on – old found wooden window frames.