A while ago I finished working on an amazing project. It involved creating characters and illustrations for an educational app to help prevent racism. Read more about it here.
This morning however, I heard back from the client who needed a specific graphic for promotional uses. The graphic was to have all of the characters together as a group. I suddenly realised how many characters I designed and developed for the one app; 30 in total! It also reminded me how much I love working on character design. There’s something so wonderful about using your imagination and creating a little being. Every detail is so deliberate to building that character’s personality.
I just finished this illustration as a protest of sorts. Hindsight is a dangerous thing. For at the time, those affected by atrocities throughout history were treated with suspicion and ill ease. But as years passed, the Western world embraced them (with arms still a little limp). And so we look back and wag our finger at our ancestors for not doing enough to help those in desperate need.
How are the asylum seekers of this time any different? I can feel the breeze of my great, great grand child’s finger wagging at me. I defensively call out to her from the past “…it’s our government’s fault!” and mostly, it is. But have I done enough to let them know what I won’t stand for?
NO. Most of the asylum seekers arriving in Australia come by air with a valid visa.
Illustrations part of a series created for The Red Cross Australia.
I was so incredibly thrilled when recently approached by The Red Cross to work on an illustration commission. The project, funded by The Australian Government (which I find surprising) is to educate children about common myths surrounding asylum seekers. I created 7 illustrations, which will soon be pieced together by The Red Cross design team as a giant poster to be distributed amongst Australian primary school classrooms. I feel like misinformed adults could also gain a wider perspective from these facts. I’ll share each illustration with you in the coming days.
So here’s the first.
FACT 1: Are asylum seekers illegal?
NO. Everyone has the right to seek asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws by simply arriving on boats or without permission. (Article 31 of the Refugee Convention)
There was a beautiful downpour yesterday, completely welcome after a particularly hot day. As the sun was setting, I was in awe of some of the most beautiful clouds. They were all layered. Some soft and wispy, others shapely and billowing like a slow explosion. One cluster in particular looked like something Buddha himself would come rolling in on. These photos are for the most part untouched, though they didn’t do the sky the justice it deserved.
While photographing these beauties, my initial thought was “….it’s all because of the sun, the light, that is making all of this so wonderful to see”. But I instantly knew this wasn’t entirely true. That it’s the bits of shadow and darkness which give the clouds shape and dimension. Yes yes yes, light and dark…..can’t have one without the other….very philosophical of me. But it’s true, no?
Grief can do funny things. Once you’ve had time doing almost nothing (what is time?) you start to get back in to the things you used to enjoy. For some reason, it took me extra time to pick up my Olympus film camera. The first few photos felt so clumsy, but it didn’t take long until its familiarity and warmth laid weightily in my hands.
Here are a couple I took in a paddock near my friends property. I always feel like I enter some kind of dream state when walking around there.
I was back in Sydney recently to sort out a few very heavy things in my life. I might tell you about them another time. But Lavender Bay was a beautiful pause in my trip. There is such a feeling of nostalgia in Sydney, not just because that’s where I grew up. It’s an energy I pick up from poets and artists who once thrived in areas like the Hawkesbury River and Potts Point. So I suppose it’s no wonder I feel so drawn to Lavender Bay, as this is where Wendy Whiteley (and her husband Brett Whitely) converted what was basically a junk yard, in to the little oasis it is today. Wendy is shy, but I’ve spoken to her a few times and she was even happy to pose for a portrait. I make sure to thank her for the care she’s taken in this garden she keeps up for the public to enjoy.
Here is a quick pen sketch I did while sitting there in the sun.