Marble sculptures of 28 life jackets memorialize asylum seekers
Alex Seton pays tribute to asylum seekers washed ashore coco islands
As part of the 2014 adelaide biennial “dark heart”, artist Alex Seton has carved 28 life jackets from white marble as a memorial to those washed ashore the coco islands while seeking asylum in May 2013. The Sydney-based artist explains that ‘these jackets represent the lives of 28 unknown people who were simply looking for the chance to lead the lives that we enjoy everyday’. His work challenges his own national character. He questions Australia’s willingness to provide protection to those seeking asylum. ‘Somebody died trying to have a life like mine’, adds Seton. These stark, white marble sculptures depict the tragedy of this event, reminding the viewers of the lives lost during this futile search for hope. Arranged across the floor in a trail, similar to that of an oil slick floating in the sea, Seton highlights the sadness of this situation, probing the viewer with chilling ethical questions.
‘it is immediately obvious seton has invested significant attention-to-detail in the works, and in doing so has imbued them with an abject specificity. the jackets are undeniably beautiful objects, carved to the most minute details – the ripple of distressed lining and deceptive buoyancy, the sharpness of seams and crisp white nylon belts hanging limp through silver d-loops. in one exposed pocket, a few notes of iranian currency are wedged, encountered only as one comes almost full circle around the installation; until this point we have been denied any such explicit reference to the events on the cocos islands. through these details we are anchored in a specific time and place, while still retaining the eerie uncertainty with which we first experienced them.’ – kate britton on alex seton’s sculptural installation for the 2014 adelaide biennial of australian art
Learn more about Alex Seton here !