The Cheek of it All - Exhibition 2023

The Cheek of it All - Exhibition 2023


What are the works about?

I’ve created the works in response to a pervasive feeling of disenfranchisement that I think we have all been encountering. Some of these aspects may be: anti-work sentiment stemming from the fact that people are working harder than ever despite exponential technological gains and worker productivity, financialexploitation in nearly every shop we enter or the celebration of an ever growing, ever more inaccessible housing market. Not to mention the resulting decision many young people are making to not to form a family or have children as a result of these circumstances.

These circumstances feel, at-least to me, very anti-democratic. Especially as we continue to see alternative narratives contrary to our lived experiences being spread throughout controlled media sources.

While this narrative is all very doom and gloom, I would instead like to focus on the massive movements of solidarity we have each been a part of over the last few years. Whether that be through engaging with BLM, KP120 or Climate protests, or simply through managing and minimising the spread of COVID to protect our communities.  

The koalas are a portrait of each individual, friend group, house share and family that make up these larger movements and efforts.

Who are the koalas?

The koalas come from a house share in the bush and have made the road trip to Brisbane to engage in some healthy civil disobedience and/or protest. Each of their personalities contribute to a healthy social infrastructure that supports their group in maintaining these actions without it engulfing a large part of their lives.

Feel free to create your own narrative on how they interact, who rallies the troops and writes the itinerary, who is likely to suggest actually lighting fires and who is the voice of reason?

What are the backgrounds?

Each background is a stop on their road trip, starting out from their home in thebush to specific sites of importance along their journey. For example, one of the stops is outside Brisbane town hall on the day that an artist painted ‘SOVEREIGNTY’ across the front entrance. They also take a moment to pay their respects at Post Office Square where Dundalli was hung. To these koalas, his story of guerrilla resistance against colonial expansion is a key source of inspiration.

Are the koalas meant to be threatening?

As a young adult I do not see many likely trajectories that will alleviate this sense of disenfranchisement in the short term. Over the last decade many of our democratic options for dissent have been eroded and criminalised. The combination of these two points makes me very concerned.

A democratic government must take civil disobedience seriously. If it does not, it places our communities in the morally challenging position of determining the severity of action required to have our voices heard.

So, no, they are not meant to be threatening. The held lighter is a representation of the choice for what action they are taking. Is it held up in solidarity or is it used to light a car on fire?



Since exhibiting these works in The Cheek of it All at the Carpark Gallery, Brisbane. I have completed a number of additional works in the series.