Pictures at an exhibition at Campbelltown Arts Centre.
Myuran Sukumaran was a talented Australian artist. Following a serious conviction for drug trafficking and ten years imprisonment, he was executed by the Indonesian Government in April 2015.
This post is not about his crime, nor is it about portraying him as some kind of post-mortem hero or martyr. It is about the first exhibition of his prolific paintings, entitled “Another Day In Paradise”, held at Campbelltown Arts Centre, (13 January 2017 – 26 March 2017) as part of the Sydney Festival. All of his paintings were created during his incarceration and provide a glimpse of how he confronted his prison life and impending execution.
The take-home message I got from “Another Day In Paradise” was about a peek inside Sukuraman’s tortured mind; of his alternating moments of torment and hope; of his strong feelings for family and friends; of his occasional optimism being replaced with final fear and despair; of his ultimately sombre acceptance; and of the potency of his final compelling painting.
The exhibition is neither a judgment nor a vindication of Sukumaran, for he has already paid the price. As the Exhibition’s Curatorial Statement said:
“Another Day in Paradise” invites us to consider how art has the power to provoke change and how justice could be sought if – rather than punishment and penalty – human rights and rehabilitation were at its core.
I cannot imagine the anguish which the family of Myuran Sukumaran went through. It was brave of them to proceed with this amazing exhibition of artistic talent.
It was also wonderful that Campbelltown Arts Centre was chosen to host it.