Gaye Paterson - 'Ode to Lesvos'
Wednesday 11 April - Sunday 6 May 2018
Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. Banksy
Whilst the Australian Government was enforcing meaner ways of imprisoning people seeking asylum, the Aegean island of Lesvos was opening its heart and simply dealing with the situation. This exhibition is a personal response to today’s humanitarian crisis, telling the story of those fleeing the Syrian Civil War through materials and stories collected from the artist’s own experience volunteering in Lesvos, Greece in 2016 and 2017.
In the small collage works, the pieces of dinghy rubber and life jackets represent their journey and the gold leaf their homeland. Notably, this exhibition does not seek to accentuate the human tragedy. Rather it aims to tell the story of people who never wished to leave their homeland, including all that is familiar, all that they love, but had no choice.
This is the dilemma proposed in the work Scylla and Charybdis – a tale from Homer’s Odyssey that can be simplified in today’s language as ‘stuck between a rock and a hard place.’
Finally, this exhibition celebrates the kindness of those who welcomed refugees on their island, and the long-standing Greek commitment to hospitality and welcoming strangers.