Tides of people escaping the horrors of starvation, grueling war, political persecution, torture, religious persecution and the many forms of extreme human deprivation, make the harrowing journey away from their once beloved homelands.
Desperate, they seek someone, any one person who can offer them a vessel, a life line and hopefully freedom, in a place where they and their children; the people they love most, may be safe to live a long life.
A drop in the ocean of displaced people, a mother cradles her precious babes; one wrapped lovingly around her hip while another is cocooned upon her back, so reliant on her. Dissolving in a sea of trauma, for some time now life’s sole purpose has been survival.
Faced with her family’s certain demise, her options exhausted, she courageously propels her family step by step along the perilous jetty to the great unknown, in search of a life of possibility.
Her mind’s eye is keenly focused upon the once unimaginable future now within her reach. Just as a blind man would be happy to see, she cares not for the condition of the vessel, she is blinded by its promise and deeply scarred by all that has come before. An emotion far more powerful then fear has taken hold and emboldened her with great determination. Hope floats.
Hope Floats, is my response to the raging debate regarding asylum seekers arriving by sea. Hoping to inspire Australians to empathise with the plight of asylum seekers, my intention here is to evoke some of the feelings that may come to pass moments before embarking upon the final leg of a journey towards freedom.
I have intentionally painted this family on the outer fringe of the picture plane and have consciously chosen to exclude the image of a boat in the hope of personalising this moment and separating this asylum seeking family from the term ” boat people”; an ugly part of our vernacular that places the issue at arm’s length, conveniently ignoring and denying horrific past experiences that lead scores of ordinary good people, women and men of integrity, to take extraordinary risk in hope of securing the best possible lives for their family.