Self Directed Project

Initially I wasn’t sure what to do for the self directed project. but then the whole Peter Dutton au pair saga broke out. I was pretty disappointed that this man in power got no repercussion for what he did. Essentially intervening when it suits him in visa cases. This got me thinking about the asylum seekers and refugees held in detention on Manus Island and Nauru.

Article talking about Peter Dutton au pair saga:

After researching more into the topic, I was shocked to find that there have been 12 deaths in Australian off-shore detention centres.

Here is an excellent article covering the issue:

The 12 men who have died in Australian off shore detention centres

The 12 men who have died in Australian off shore detention centres

Learning about these guys deaths was quite depressing. Seeing their age when they died and how they died really hit home. So I wanted to focus my painting around these 12 men who were locked up in off shore detention and had no way of getting out.


The initial sketch: Based on the 12 men who were locked up and were never going to leave. I wanted to focus on distress, deterioration of mental health and specific deaths like the infection of Hamid’s leg which ended up causing his death. Overall I wanted to portray a real sense of hopelessness. Around the edge I will leave blank to symbolise how these men were put in a contained area and left there to die. The use of whitespace will also cause an uneasy feeling in the viewer as it won’t be even and sharp.

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I wanted to base the palette of my painting on The Fall of the Damned by Peter Paul Rubens. This will be the first time i’ve used browns in a painting,

The initial under layer

The initial under layer


I found using browns very challenging. Trying to get the right consistency and a nice brown did prove difficult. I found I was mixing the colours more on the actual canvas instead of on the palette like I normally would.


The Fall of the 12 Detainees, 2018, oil on polyester, 170cm x 240cm.

This work was in response to the whole Peter Dutton au pair saga. It is based on the 12 refugees and asylum seekers that have died while in Australian offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. I find it absolutely appalling that Mr Dutton is happy to intervene in au pair cases but looks the other way when people are dying in Australian offshore detention centres. Reading their stories was bloody hard and it really hit home knowing what age they died and how they died. Sometimes we need to reflect and realise that we live in an extremely privileged country and that it is really the luck of the draw where we are born.

The 12 men that died while in Australian offshore detention centres:

Fariborz Karma, 26, died 15th June 2018 from suicide.

Salim Kyawning, 26, died 22nd May 2018 from suicide.

Jahingir, 29, died 2nd November 2017 from a road accident.

Rajeev Rajendran, 32, died 2nd October 2017 from a suspected suicide.

Hamed Shamshiripour, 32, died 7th August 2017 from a suspected suicide.

Faysal Ishak Ahmed, 27, died 24th December 2016 from a fall caused by a seizure.

Kamil Hussain, 34, died 2nd August 2016 from drowning.

Rakib Khan, 26, died 11th May 2016 from a suspected suicide.

Omid Masoumali, 23, died 29th April 2016 from self-immolation.

Hamid Khazaei, 24, died 5th September 2014 from sepsis.

Sayed Ibrahim Hussein, died 22nd June 2014 from drowning.

Reza Barati, 24, murdered 17th February 2014


I also did another piece focusing on the same issue:

If Hamid was an au pair he would have been right, 2018, oil on canvas.

It’s disappointing to know that Mr Dutton was happy enough to intervene and let in a few au pairs, but when it came to treating Hamid Khazaei, Mr Morrison and Mr Dutton didn’t want to know about it. Hamid Khazaei was in an Australian-run detention centre on Manus Island in 2014 when he developed a leg infection which later caused his death due to not receiving proper medical care. It is quite sad knowing that this 24-year-old died in entirely preventable circumstances.