Datsun Tran | Life consumes life

24 May – 15 June 2019

 

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‘The changing Australian cultural background has caused a divide amongst many in this country. I feel these problems stem from a place of selfishness, intense Nationalism and misplaced fear.

 

The first time I felt wholly attacked for my race was during the rise of Pauline Hanson in the mid 90s. The dialogue that she instigated, subjected me to an organised racism I hadn’t faced before. It was a betrayal that made me feel like an intruder in my own country, simply because of the way I looked.

 

Similar attitudes have arisen again, and while the scapegoating has shifted mostly from Asians to Muslims, I see the same accusations scarring another generation of new arrivals.

 

The work ‘Heroes on the frontier’ is meant to challenge our perception of immigration, entitlement and ownership. Many in Australia deem the cane toad, rabbit and fox an invasive feral species. Even some who consider themselves animal lovers have no compassion for them because of the impact they have had on native animals and humans as well, particularly farmers.

 

The ‘Shrinking world’ series reflects the consequences of our more connected and globalised world. Pitting animals against each other in a violent and brutal conflict, animals that normally wouldn’t cross paths. It is an allegory for the fight we are now facing on a global level for space, resources and the growing cultural war. This fight that is broadcast on 24-hour news feeds has become the background to our lives.

 

But to the rabbit who happens to be great at adapting to its environment, is it not a courageous hero forging ahead in a new and unwelcoming land? How can we expect to inject a new element into an existing ecosystem and leave no impact on the status quo? ‘Life consumes life’ isn’t a moral judgement, or about good or bad, it is just fact.

 

Pressing pause on change is not only impossible, but a willful decision to stagnate. Instead of trying to preserve a certain version of Australia in amber, why not acknowledge and own its bloody history, so we can shape a future that is inclusive of Australians old and new?’

 

 

–  Datsun Tran