Looking For Paradise looks into past and present policies that different governments instigated to help or deny entry to people in need of a ‘Safe Heaven’.
Over 12 handmade and bound books, I am bringing the stories of the refugees, often relegated to the margin of society, to the centre page. The books are presented in a barbwire cage alluding to the restrictive movements imposed on refugees.
Together with Broken Yellow, we created an animation using elements of the artwork, further exploring the notion of Australia as paradise, the pursuit of this paradise, and the inexplicable impact the policies have had on those undertaking this pursuit.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights features people seeking asylum, with assistance from the Asylum Seekers Centre. This humanises the story told by the imagery and is a reminder of Australia’s responsibility as a first signatory of the United Nation Human Rights Charter.
On display at the Queen Victoria Museum, Inveresk from 8 March to 19 May 2021.
Artwork credit 1: Nathalie Hartog-Gautier Detail from book 12, 2020 photographer Fleuren A.
Artwork credit 2: Nathalie Hartog-Gautier Detail from book 11, 2020, photographer Fleuren A.
Artwork credit 3: Nathalie Hartog-Gautier Detail from book 8, 2020 photographer Fleuren A.
Artwork credit 4: Nathalie Hartog-Gautier, 12 books in a cage, 2020, photographer Fleuren A.
Artwork credit 5: Nathalie Hartog-Gautier, Detail from book 11, 2020, photographer Fleuren A.