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Presented by Denise Keele-bedford in partnership with Fed Square:
“The origin of Deep Blue Crossing began in 2015. I had a discussion, with an artist friend, on the massive movement of people across the globe. We talked about how we came to be in Australia and the issue of so many people having to leave their homes and take boats as an escape, to find a better life and a secure, safe environment in which to live.
Australia and especially Melbourne has been voted the most livable city in the world and for me as a ‘privileged’ white Australian I thank my ancestors for taking a boat in 1849 and migrating to this country.
For so many, though, they do not have the choice to live where they want or to choose to migrate as a free individual. These are people who, for whatever the reason, have been forced to move find themselves physically and mentally drifting in search of ‘home’.
In 2016, I had the opportunity to undertake an artist residency in the Hudson Valley New York State. The city of Poughkeepsie is a melting pot of cultures and the ‘boat people’ issue in Australia arose in my mind again. My first boat installations were in Poughkeepsie where I used colourful papers to make origami boats that reflected the migration, trade, and transport on the three hundred-and fifteen-mile length of the Hudson River.
The yellow boats came about by looking at Hope. Hope for a safe environment, Hope for security, Hope for a safe passage, Hope for a better life, Hope for a home and each person’s Hope could be different. The Yellow boats have become a symbol of Hope. I found myself continually folding for installations in Beijing, in Gwangju Korea, in Wuhan China and again in Melbourne. 2019 saw me traveling throughout Norway creating boat installations in the natural environment. In the beginning, I folded one boat at a time, completely. I then devised a rhythm and fold one hundred at a time through each of the ten steps of the production process. One hundred boats take about six hours to complete, it almost becomes meditative.”
In celebration of Multicultural Week at Fed Square, a fleet of origami boats will sail through the Fracture Gallery, as the refracted natural light dances across the space. The installation uses colour to convey the kaleidoscopic diversity of nations who have traversed oceans and created a fusion from their cultural inheritances that transforms Melbourne into a unique multicultural society.
Deep Blue Crossing acknowledges our first peoples, those who currently broaden Melbourne’s heritage and future generations’ harmonization.
With thanks to Stony Creek Studio, Kayendee Acrylics, Karyn Blokkeerus, Megan Caine.
Denise installing in Korea in 2018