Speaking Without Tongues: Visual Responses to Asylum Seeker Detention in Australia
The voicelessness of detainees has stimulated the generation of new means and approaches through which artists are making their own statements. The strategy of imitation, involving impoverishment and the relinquishment of their own voices, has proved a powerful method by which to subvert regulation and ‘speak’ on behalf of this voiceless minority. The asylum issue is portrayed as indicative of the negative face of Australia, even as the artists are themselves de-facing. But this same vehicle of deprivation has also been adopted beyond art in the broader visual culture where it has been portrayed in the consumer context as an unmistakeable and even positive expression of national identity. The artists considered use performance, video, oil and print media.
Keywords: Visual Culture, Asylum Seekers
Honorary Research Associate, Department of Australian Studies, Monash University