Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gabriella Hegyes

Gabriella Hegyes migrated from Hungary over 30 years ago. She studied fine arts at Wollongong, the National Art School, University of Western Sydney and Monash University. Gabriella has participated in numerous solo and selected group exhibitions around Australia and in Japan. She has curated several exhibitions and developed and coordinated a number of public art projects in NSW.

Trained in sculpture, photography and printmaking she moved to installation based work where all these skills could be employed. She combines conventional forms of sculpture, photography, printmaking and traditional crafts with computer manipulated images to create installations.

Her work is inspired by memory/place/identity

‘Wave…’ 2010
Medium: Fuse wire, embroidery thread, monofilament
Size: Overall size variable
Height: 225cm x Width: 192cm x Depth: 115cm
Artist statement:
As continued political debate and unfavorable public opinion surrounding asylum seekers rages through our media these human beings are reduced to nameless faces and only recorded as waves of boat arrivals that ‘threaten’ the core of Australian society.

The installation attempts to draw attention to the plight of the asylum seekers and to pay tribute to their individual brave actions in undertaking such a perilous journey to freedom and their tenacity to survive. The crochet technique references the make do nature of these vessels which are suspended precariously between the mercy of nature and human compassion.

Background to the work:
Being a Hungarian refugee in Italy and later as a legal migrant to Australia I feel great compassion for the asylum seekers trying to reach our shores.

Like they, I also crossed the sea not by boat but by swimming across due to the shortness of distance between Yugoslavia and Italy as an ‘illegal’ or ‘queue jumper’ to reach a better place. I was welcomed by the Italian community and spent almost two years in a refugee camp south of Rome where I was treated humanly.

My arrival to Australia in 1977 coincided with some of the first wave of asylum seekers reaching Darwin who were later transported south to Perth. I’ve spent several months with some of the 600 Vietnamese boat people in the hostel in Perth witnessing their stress and the all too familiar feel of uncertainty.
Photographer Gabriella Hegyes

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