Miss April Advises: Con Stipation & the Case of the Missing PM

Dear Miss April,

I was wondering if you could put your super sleuth skills or powers of divination to use. The Prime Minister seems to be missing.
Not that I want to find him, unless it was under Joe Hockey in a shallow/ not so shallow grave. [just kidding CIA guys].

What concerns me is that at a time like this that he couldnt crawl out from under his rock [aka Joe hockey] to say something , even something consoling or affirming , about the terrible plight of the people of the Phillipines after the “off the scale” typhoon.

I mean its in Asia [right?] and we rely on them terribly. So does the government.

The government relies on China buying Gina’s minerals. They really want Indonesia to hide the thing that shames Australians so. I dont mean refugees, no, I mean generousity or even that icky area, compassion. The country is awash with live livestock that need to be shipped off. Dont forget cheap holidays either.

After the beach bogans all spent a quid for the other less radio-active tsnumami, surely the head bogan could speak up on behalf of the holiday-ready masses and offer assistance to another nation girthed by surf beaches. The base and gritty commonality surely should get Tones into a speedo to announce that some peoples Xmas plans will be interupted by this awful natural disaster. By natural we obviously mean made by god [not science or global warming or brown coal or dredging the barrier reef to exploit toxic fracking income]. Lets get the public announcement back in public service.

Please, do you know where he is? I’m dying to hear what hes got to say.


Con Stipation.


Tony and Gina – do they eat enough fibre?

Dear Con Stipation

I do beg your pardon, I’m rather harried you see. Since I received your correspondence I have been actively seeking our Prime Minister in every logical location with no success. I have returned to my secretaire to respond to you and confess my failings. Here I sit, my ankle boots soiled beyond repair, my petticoats disgracefully muddied, my hair has fallen and caught twigs in its slovenly web. I am a disorderly disgrace.

I started merrily enough, scoffing at your histrionics. I reached for the closest broadsheet smug in my knowledge that my fearless leader will be outspoken in his empathy and active aid, putting you naysayer to shame. He is a Christian after all. After much ruffling I felt a slight unease – where was his stoic face??

I wasted no time. I knew exactly what would drag him away from his glorious duties. I flew in a modern air bus to Warsaw. Rest assured Mr Stipation, my Tony knows the importance of representing our country on the world stage; especially when our neighbours need us so much. At one point I thought I saw him from behind – ‘my lord, my lord!’ I cried. I reached for him, his tightly wound up, fraught body only inches away. Quelle horreur! It was not the hero that has won the hearts of Australians. I found myself holding hands with an extraordinarily well recompensed chap sent here to do the good work of the new minority – vilified multinational fossil fuel corporations. God speed heroes. God speed.

Panic had started to set in by this stage. Good God, the thought of letting one of my readers down was too much for my poor shoulders to bear. I even went along to the Treasury Gardens the other morn, expecting my master of men to be there teaching those Greenies a thing or two, and explaining calmly the sound science of his advisor Andrew Bolt, so we can all stop worrying and start spending!  Alas, Con, I was perplexed. Look, I don’t approve of hippies. What with their sensual drumming and middle-class fire-twirling. So I was shocked to find that all of these lefty-hippy types who are so rightly condemned within impartial Murdoch media networks looked altogether rather average. By golly, I think I saw Myrtle from church! There were twinsets (?!) ; quite a number of grey-haired retirees, and a large smattering of smartly dressed families. Their messages  all seemed so sensible and necessary.  This was becoming a true mystery.

I am not one to surrender Con Stipation. I march on! I decided to write to my good friend and neighbour President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to enlist his assistance to track down Tony. Well, I never. When I finally received his return correspondence the profanity was so shocking I had to immediately reach for the Tip Ex to whitewash the offending words. What on earth has happened there! Our fine leader, the good, hard-working Tony, the man who can make a smile look like a murder attempt, is unpopular? It’s been less than 3 sodding months!

It is only just now, Con, that I have finally solved the mystery for you. He is cheating on us – with Gina. My favourite Maitre D’ discretely informed me of his current whereabouts. An exclusive rendezvous. Just friends. No ramifications, no consequences. Just lusty lipped kisses, bulging wallets and handshakes. Oh Con, I think I really got the wrong end of the stick with this lot. He’s missing you say? I only pray they all disappear, all that glitters is not gold Con Stipation, and knowing what’s on this menu we might need a bit more roughage before we can expel this lot out.

My dear Tony is absent, he leads me not.

Miss April

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Miss April Advises: Warning, not suitable for unsuitable readers: Hans A. Whey

Dear Miss April,

I have three things to say that are remotely connected but establish a pattern of inconsistency in the area of governence and moral governence on our behalf. Could you examine these articles and hopefully console me for I think that in the light of these observations my radical liberalism ( moral optimism) has been subsumed by hysterical liberal [voters]?

See three things below.

1.Artist works seized for illustrataing a sexualized Justin Beiber [ surely the beib’s publicist should have been the perp for premeditation BTW this content was shown under Mr Doyles watch with no mention of dripping cocks on Bourke street in the papers]
2.Blonde St Kilda footballer with respectable penis blackmailed by unnamed teenager[surely if your blackmailing you should be named no matter what your age or if not, your parents might need to explain how your child got to be there to take those pictures]
3.Bill Henson celebrates youth through beauty but is vilified [no one notices the beauty part except liberal Turnbull who owns one]

Liberal salutations.

Hans A. Whey

Dear Hans A. Whey

I’ve been quite oblivious to the current furore as I have other urgent matters at hand such as catching up with my cross-stitching and waiting furiously for the cinematic release of Behind the Candelabra.

However, after perusing recent newspaper articles at the local library I thought, golly, the powers that be really want to stoically protect our fragile minds from the corrupting scourge of collage. I then noted the key words – penis, child, degenerate, Justin Bieber, paedophilia –tax-payer funding – gasp! Dirty, dirty, words.

I am confident you are referring to the artwork of a young Mr Paul Yore. Unless I am mistaken and there is another hysterical bout of hypocritical self-serving Machiavellian manipulation Civic Duty afoot. He has been quite the hot ticket of late, in the city, along the hip-strip, amongst the leafy establishment, and now then down in the former-seedy-area-now-well-and-truly-gentrified St Kilda. Gosh, simply everywhere, so imagine my surprise that we all come so lately to the conclusion it is no longer suitable for the sensitive eyes of gallery hopping siblings and sensitive Councilors.

Look, to be perfectly honest with you Hans, I’m a bit of an old prude myself. I do not take kindly to nudity. I especially find male genitalia most distasteful when displayed both in flaccid and extreme performance mode even if it is plastic; combine this with the images of Justin Bieber children and you have just described to me the very things that I despise about the selfish putridity of adult humans. In my humble opinion, the only male grotesquery wont to be seen in the fine visual arts is the sacred penis of Baby Jesus, front and centre, so close to the picture plane it almost pokes one’s eye out whilst gazing in trembling holy rapture.

Correggio, Madonna of the Basket, c 1524, held in the National Gallery of London.

Correggio, Madonna of the Basket, c 1524, held in the National Gallery of London.

Needless to say, I was ready with softened nib pencil to underline the compelling arguments against Mr Yore’s work, justifying the necessity to ensure that I had no opportunity whatsoever to assess for myself the level to which I objected to the work. I was not disappointed. The complainant articulates: “The Pope is f—d, Everything is f—-d, the police are f—-d, Pigs with guns…The police would have loved that one…And when you go into the grotto, it looked like teenage boys with erections, with stickers over them…Degenerate…It’s not the right time to do any of that stuff at the moment anyway, you know what I mean with all the stuff with the Roman Catholic Church.”


However, that being said so eloquently, I am but one among many and I have enough experience to realise that everyone has a right to tell their story, and to suffocate those who try to do so is a most heinous moral crime.

So what of it Mr Yore, are you trying to outdo the Pope with your sequined dresses and garish aesthetics? Is that it? You, a formidable man of a long 25 years, who looks around you to see the magnificent institution ruled by the Holy Seed See so vulnerable now that you choose to kick it while it’s down? What with all of the terrible truth coming out and such, and those thousands of victims who survived the stuff of nightmares persecute the sacred institution? Or perhaps you see those victims who did not survive.

All I can find from Mr Yore: “We live in a time that is very important for artists and musicians and writers to express themselves and a lot of people are confused about society and see the world as a dark place”. Ha! Well thoughts like that will get you arrested in these times sir, so is it worth it? Well, actually I suspect probably now more than ever. But I hear the City of Port Philip could just save themselves around $100,000 a year, and as long as it makes good economic sense it’s a win-win, right?

Children and artists, they make from what they see. Point in hand I move on to your second article, St Kilda Teen. You say she blackmailed someone? I do not recall, I was under the distinct impression the young lass was rather generously democratic with her photography. She too shared with us the visual outpouring of the world around her, it just happened to be a vast array of footballer penii*.

Should her name have been published? I thought St Kilda Teen was her name. Are her parents responsible? Well, responsible enough to send her to school. The visiting footballers successfully seemed to take over at that point.

Or did they? A most unusual event occurred, the girl did not go away. How utterly incredulous and confusing this is for young gods such as these – desire begets undesirable consequences?? How were they to foresee that this 17-year old girl would expect they admired her and wanted to be with her just because they graced her with their penetrative presence? They, along with other naked penises needed protection, stat; and that’s where multi-million dollar businesses can truly be rather helpful.

And so it came to be. The child was a child no more, she had transformed into the Femme Fatale. Vulnerable, abused, at risk? No, monsieur, no, you have it all askew. She is a liar, a temptress, a young lady that uses her sexuality to corrupt the heroes – and, how you say, does not shut up when men tell her to. This is the perfect French film script, non?

Quelle Horreur ! The underage Femme Fatale is, in popular media, somewhat akin to the most frightening of all underage seductresses, the man-hating, satan-worshipping, teenage lesbian murderess – terrifying to powerful heterosexual men, however completely fictional to all other social groups.

So in real life when a child has quite literally been debased what do powerful people do? Why, the send in an experienced, respected, compassionate family man. Unfortunately, it was reported he might have been accompanied by a bottle of wine, illicit substances, and alas, his penis. Heroes fall quickly when we see the world through the eyes of another. And the child eventually disappears.

Mr Bill Henson is a master of beauty, a Renaissance spirit, a painter’s photographer. There is no denying the true art of his magnificent works – you know, there’s no icky bits, nor ugly truths. Chiaroscuro. Allow me to repeat, Chiii-rrrra-scurr-o. You can’t argue with that.

And let us be quite frank with each other, once there is the sound argument of ‘but he’s famous internationally; he’s in all the national collections; it’s beautiful; important; investment’ – why, debate closed! Alas, herein lies our most despicable of lost opportunities. Debate never happened; not even a delicate vapour of conversation. What we got was:

You are
Am not

Not quite what one hopes for to invigorate important public discourse and insight. It does make one wonder the role of art in the first place, yes? But Sir, it would be grotesquely remiss of me to neglect to state indefatigably and publicly: therein lies in Mr Henson’s work a potent sexuality that one would need to have their eyes poked out with hot skewers to be unable to recognise. I would like to clarify, as I am merely a lay-person more interested in sneering at neighbours through my curtained windows , I do not believe they are in the slightest way pornographic. However, I find it incredulous that anyone could look at these images and not recognise their own selves at a time in the world where adults did not exist, where emotions ran deep and strong… and unfathomable.

Dearie-me, perhaps that is why the viewer can be so drawn in, but so uncomfortable. It is a world that we are perhaps not meant to observe, a burgeoning sexuality that needs to be protected from adults, from our gaze and interpretations. So much more difficult to do with photography – n’est pas? – we feel our presence, the subject’s, the photographer’s, it becomes so literal that we almost place ourselves in the role of intruder, destroyer, adult. What a lively conversation that would have made.

It is a rather interesting albeit shameful parody that we are at a point so vigilant to protect our children that we must whitewash, victimise, shame, objectify, and arrest them to do so. Alas, there is an ill wind my dear; a very ill wind indeed, and I suspect we won’t amble too much further along this path before we all turn to one another in a moment of horrific clarity and agree with Mr Yore. Everything is fucked.

Yours most sincerely, Miss April

* Penii – noun, plural. Anatomy, Zoology . the male organ of copulation and, in mammals, of urinary excretion. Miss April’s preferred pluralising of the singular form as the term penises can sometimes be a mouthful, although it can at times have a pleasing rhythm when strategically placed.

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It continues! Hayes’ show at Dark Horse Experiment has been extended so you still have this week to go and see it. It’s attracted great attendance, media attention, academic interest – not bad for a cancelled show! The gallery is open Wed – Sat 12 – 6 at 110 Franklin St, Melbourne.

Museum of Love and Mortality

In 2004 I helped Cameron Hayes put together a publication to accompany his solo show at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. When I went to deliver some to be stocked at the Arts Bookshop a rather peeved employee there complained: “but you don’t have any information in here about the artist!”

It’s true. I did try, but he refused, genuinely seeing it as erroneous information. “Just show the pictures”, Hayes instructed, “and the only text should be about the stories.” So that’s what we did.  No biography, nor exhibition history, not even a birth date. This time however, I happened to get a bit more out of him. So here goes:

Cameron Hayes is first and foremost a narrative painter. Usually his style of work consists of densely painted large scale canvases filled with figures and scenery, animals and architecture, playing havoc with retinal activity. Have a look at Mathias Ulungura…

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The approach to Cameron Hayes

In 2004 I helped Cameron Hayes put together a publication to accompany his solo show at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts. When I went to deliver some to be stocked at the Arts Bookshop a rather peeved employee there complained: “but you don’t have any information in here about the artist!”

It’s true. I did try, but he refused, genuinely seeing it as erroneous information. “Just show the pictures”, Hayes instructed, “and the only text should be about the stories.” So that’s what we did.  No biography, nor exhibition history, not even a birth date. This time however, I happened to get a bit more out of him. So here goes:

Cameron Hayes is first and foremost a narrative painter. Usually his style of work consists of densely painted large scale canvases filled with figures and scenery, animals and architecture, playing havoc with retinal activity. Have a look at Mathias Ulungura captures Hajime Toyashima – 19th February 1942 – this is indicative of his usual style.

Mathias Ulungura captures Hajime Toyashima – 19th February 1942, 2006, oil on linen, 167.5 x 254 cm.

But the Milikapiti show is slightly different. There are large canvases with empty spaces and small canvases with intimate scenes. This body of work, some painted in 2006, some as recently as this year, is in essence one work. Instead of many scenes in one canvas, individual scenes get their own canvas, and some characters have even evolved into soft sculpture format.

Hayes has decided to speak about this body of work, something he hasn’t done often in the past. I think he is frustrated. Of being misunderstood, of people not taking the time and care to look at his work in equal measure to the care he puts into creating it. It can be frustrating. One thing I have noticed following Hayes’ work is that he often tackles subject matter before the rest of us are quite ready to deal with it, or even recognise it. Years ago he painted a magnificent lolly coloured painting that investigated corporate paedophilia, the marketing of sexuality and childhood. A couple of years later it was a hot topic in the media. I’m not suggesting he is some sort of trend-forecasting zeitgeist, but that’s what happens when you have an observer like Hayes. They see things before other people do because he’s not participating. He’s watching and recording.

14 Kurdish refugees land in Milikapiti and ask, “is this Australia?” – 4th November 2003, 2012, oil on linen, 61 x 81 cm

Marketing and branding is something that still interests him today with this body of work. Many of these paintings were painted during an 18-month period when Hayes was living in a small Aboriginal community called Milikapiti Melville Island north of Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia) the home to the Tiwi people for the last 7,000 years or so. Fascinated by the clash and melding of Tiwi culture and European culture, the community life and Tiwi history acts as a backdrop. It is a microcosm for a global pattern of displacement, expansion of dominant nations, corporate/social branding taking over culture and identity. Take the painting The least convincing rap band in the world – 11 August 1997; or 14 Kurdish refugees land in Milikapiti and ask, “is this Austraila?” – 4th November 2003.  The latter work referencing the sinister use of marketing in politics and the media. Based on a true story, a group of refugees were spotted on a vessel in the bay at Milikapiti. The conservative Howard Government of the time did a fantastic job of instilling a fear and hatred campaign of refugees through the media, basically branding them as potential terrorists and possible carriers of unknown diseases. It worked. So pervasive was this strategic political message that it even reached across the nation from capital cities to remote small communities. So here we have asylum seekers in the guise of The Raft of the Medusa, instead of ragged cloth they are waving brand name t-shirts representing our new dominant culture – the well marketed Brand. Would they have more success by appealing, not to empathetic fellow people, not to other displaced victims, but to those who like the same brands – who do you identify with? Are you Nike or more of a Burberry? Are you Apple or PC? Are you Right or Left?

The least convincing rap band in the world – 11 August 1997, 2012, oil on linen, 31 x 41 cm

Displaced people. We have a world full of them now, don’t we? Indigenous people, migrants, refugees, the old, the young, women, the battered, the misunderstood, the abused, hell, even just the lonely. Hayes believes his role as an artist is “to tell a story” and in the Milikapiti works the story is this:

“Most art has a sub-text and a text. The text is the scenery and the characters, the location. The subtext is the motivation, the idea behind it. The Tiwi islands are just the text. The stories are mainly about what happens when you have a group of people and someone from elsewhere comes into the group. No matter what happens, even when someone has good intentions to do everyone a favour, usually that person usurps someone, their position within the group. Milikapiti is a good metaphor for that, because when the Europeans came in they (mostly) tried to help, and even then the result was that it did someone out of a job. For instance, when they gave everyone the dole [welfare] it meant that Tiwi hunters weren’t required to provide food, or when they gave everyone ladders, the best tree climbers that could reach mangoes were out of a job. And so that is part of the story of Milikapiti, the celebrity status of a lot of people had been lost. Their purpose had been lost. “

Dog torturers behind the Milikapiti Clinic – 17th June 1979, 2006, oil on linen, 213.5 x 198 cm

Halfway to Milikapiti from Darwin the old Tiwi man admitted they were lost – 29th July 1964, 2005, oil on linen, 213.5 x 198 cm

The Missionaries themselves are a good example of this type of displacement, from various angles. Half way to Milikapiti from Darwin the old Tiwi man admitted they were lost – 29 July 1964. “The nuns come in to try and help, and overall they probably did, but there were a lot of casualties along the way.” Hayes doesn’t judge these individual missionaries, on the contrary he seems to have a real affinity for their sense of adventure and bravery, in essence their own displacement. But what does it achieve all of these good intentions? A perceived superiority of technology, values, lifestyle, or belief systems – what happens when people meet, groups combine, cultures collide, and one inevitably has more power than the other?

Painted in 2012 Waiting for a confession 31st October 1967 shows the absurdity of the formal ritual of confession taking place in the incongruous context of the bush.  A 20-year-old priest takes confessions of octogenarian Tiwi people. He’s somehow dragged a portable confessional that is placed in the untamed bush. They’ve lived a long life so the list is long!

The humour found in the incongruous meeting of cultures has also been used in the soft sculpture installation The Hunters, 2012. Three elderly women are going hunting. They are wearing inappropriate t-shirts. Those who have ever lived in remote communities would recognise such a scene. Often there is only one shop with limited stock, usually the clothing range is t-shirts featuring popular rap bands, song titles and slogans, or multi-national brands. Here Hayes has used the lyrics from a song called “Horny” (yes, really) by Mousse T, a ludicrously banal pop song that was very popular on Australian radio. The figure is also carrying a ‘Hello Kitty’ bag, one of the world’s largest brands it has permeated nearly every remote corner on earth! The incongruity of the cuteness, the inappropriate slogans, the blood, and carcases – it displays the unique way of life, the idiosyncrasies of the Tiwi people. Hayes also uses this simple, funny scene as a metaphor for what he describes as an ‘ill-fitting culture’. The European choices, the white Australian lifestyle just doesn’t quite meet the women’s needs.

Three Tiwi women, three Hello Kitty handbags and bits of hard to identify axed up native animal – 31st March 2012 (or The Hunters), 2012, felt and mixed media, dimensions variable around 50 cm high

The soft sculpture installations are interesting aesthetic devices. They are visual references to scenes and motifs in the paintings, but they also act as light relief, objects of colour and texture, fictional characters in 3-dimensions. They bind the 2-dimensional works together as a series, much the same way as the artist uses visual devices in his large-scale canvases to link different scenes together – whether that be repeated characters (human or animals) and patterns (poles, trees, rivers) or colours. Hayes describes his formal approach to painting as such:

“In reality there is very little difference when you walk around the streets between colours when you look at things. They’re quite close. The problem is when you are a kid and you start painting you paint a red dress, blue pants, and a white background. But in reality that dress is either dark red or light red and the pants are the same and everything looks quite similar in tone. So that is something you learn as you get experience. If you don’t want it to look amateurish, or to be like a Mondrian or Matisse picture, most colours are quite similar. Also it’s a lot easier to look at if you haven’t got colours jarring against each other, and when you are painting you try and make everything conservative which leaves you the option of doing bold colours later to attract peoples attention in different directions. So you paint a picture, you try and get the colours – say if 1 is white and 10 is black – you try to keep everything about 5 & 6 so that at the end of the picture you can use your black & your white, or bold colours as highlights, as a way of directing. Because if you start off with bold colours you’ve got nowhere to go because your eyes just look at the bold colours first and everything is compared to that. You lose control of the viewer looking at a picture if you use too many bold colours because people look straight at that.”

Installation shot of soft sculpture poles, teeth, and various animals, felt and mixed media, dimensions variable, about 170 cm high at highest point

This body of work spans over 8 years. It is a compelling approach to universal themes from a considered and accomplished artist. Some of the artist’s own text used in his work is perhaps misleading, or like his work, a type of fiction. It is not a re-telling of Milikapiti history as much as it is a narrative ploy. He uses his experiences, the visual feast of Tiwi culture and history, as a metaphor for the issues discussed above: displacement, global branding, homogenising culture.  The fallout of this is a growing trend of alternative cultures, ideas, values, anything that contravenes the structure and value system of the dominant society becoming victimised casualties along the way.

But wait, there’s more!

Semi-authorised abridged artist biography in point form:

  • Cameron’s full name is Cameron Kingsley Hayes. He was born on Halloween in 1969. He’s lived in Sydney, Melbourne and Melville Island. He works in his studio every single day – EVERY SINGLE DAY. I have only known him to take a break on rare family holidays and trips to attend exhibition openings in New York. Even then he will suffer great anxiety about leaving his studio and will assuage his guilt by sketching, planning and conducting research for further work.
  • For his larger scale canvases, which is the majority of his work, it takes approximately 3 – 4 months to complete, and he will often work simultaneously on 2 – 3 canvases at a time.
  • He doesn’t have studio assistants, every brushstroke is his and every sculpture is hand made. He even taught himself to sew to do the soft sculptures. He went to art school at RMIT, Melbourne.
  • He admires the work of Cat Rabbit, Henry Darger and Hieronymous Bosch. The idea of creating soft, toy-like sculptures was inspired by fellow artist Chris Humphries.
  • He can often be found at the Melbourne City Library doing research. He reads a great deal about every subject he paints about.
  • If you ever truly wanted to get a different perspective on something, problem, social issues, political figure, anything really, he would be the person to ask. He will enlighten the topic from such a vastly different perspective it will amaze you.  If he ever stopped being an artist (which will never happen) he could get a job as someone who thinks so far outside of the box he could revolutionalise think tanks. However, he’d probably unintentionally offend you at the same time.
  • He runs every day and clocks up to 100 kms a week. He umpires A grade Amateurs football.
  • If, for some reason, you needed someone to take care of $50,000 in cash you could give it to Cameron. Even if you couldn’t pick it up for 10 years or more, you can be sure it would still be there and he wouldn’t have spent a dollar.
  • He doesn’t like to ask for favours.
  • In response to the question “how are you, Cameron?”, he will respond “I’m the same”, without exception.
  • Even as a child he was an observer, and already much like an old man. Observations of his elders influenced a very strong code of ethics.
  • When he was at St Kevin’s he was the captain of the cross country and known as a good artist. His family lost everything when his father was sent to prison. His school kept him on with a scholarship.
  • He has had the same haircut forever. He has never been drunk and has never taken drugs.
  • When the warm months start to turn cold he wears less clothes because he thinks it is a good way to train his body to get used to winter. When he catches a cold he wears a raincoat to go jogging because he thinks he can sweat it out.
  • When I warned him that I was going to “do something different which you probably won’t like” by doing this bio section, he responded “anything but flattery”.
  • His greatest fear is running out of time before he gets to complete all of his paintings.

Dr Clyde Fenton delivers yet another baby – March 7 1932, 2006, oil on linen, 44.5 x 53.5 cm. Dr Clyde Fenton was the Northern Territory’s first Flying Doctor in the 1930s. He attended Xavier College, and although he did graduate as a medical doctor in 1925 from Melbourne University, he was a self-taught pilot. A disaster to the Civil Aviation Department, but a hero to the Tiwi people, as he was their only hope for medical assistance at the time.


Cameron Hayes is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York,  http://feldmangallery.com



Schwerin, Marielle & Hayes, Cameron, Cameron Hayes, 2004, ISBN 0-646-42962-0



A fabulous video preview of some of Hayes’ earlier work in the series by Boyd Hicklin

Another fabulous video preview of Cameron Hayes’ painting What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists by film maker Sarah Lewis.

Fantastic video by Sarah Lewis about Cameron Hayes – a must watch!


This body of work was scheduled to be exhibited in Melbourne in June. Unfortunately, this exhibition was cancelled. There was some call for censorship due to the artist’s use of indigenous subject matter. Not only was this a seeming misunderstanding and reduction of Cameron Hayes’ work it was a serious censorship of discussion about the role of art in current social discourse and the relationship between indigenous and contemporary art in Australia. No doubt there will be further developments on this story! …. And there is! : This body of work is scheduled to be exhibited at Dark Horse Experiment in Melbourne, August 1st to September 2nd 2012. So people can see it for themselves, and talk!

Kick after the siren, Tapalinga Hawks vs. Milikapiti Magpies – 3 December 2002, 2004, oil on linen, 101 x 152.5 cm.
“History is subjective, people can pick out events and stories that they think are important.” And that is what Hayes is referring to by making up past dates to accompany the images in this body of work. This painting (above) was painted in Milikapiti. The artist’s local neighbours would visit him at work, an easel set up under the house. This painting was quite popular. Someone suggested it should be on display in the community club; another neighbour found it funny , stating it reminded her of how it used to be when she was a child. The community now has strict regulations regarding alcohol consumption, no alcohol was permitted at football matches while the artist was there. Hayes says of this work: “The main part of the story is how white Australian culture tries to order Tiwi life. In the background rubbish is burnt (Tiwi) rather than collected – rubbish pile burn offs, and this helps to explain why they are all over the field. One as an aesthetic device and two to reinforce the theme of the picture. Two ways of handling a problem in concert. Football is another analogy for white culture trying to order Tiwi life according to their rules, in this case footy rules. Here the whole team is standing on the mark, opposing team members are hugging. The rules work to a degree, but are adapted by the local culture, not fully accepted.
The beer cans I’ve used as an aesthetic device too. They are quite easily understood as they were everywhere, and on the footy field, the sun fades them and they become aqua in colour, they actually look quite beautiful. And when I was there it wasn’t a judgement that there were beer cans or that it was an embarrassment.”
This work was also included in the local art competition The Footy Art exhibition in 2005, where Kevin Sheedy (Essendon FC Coach at the time) awarded it First Prize.

Swimming caught fish – 12 October 2011, 2012, oil on linen, 35 x 35 cm