I have very recently been informed through an open letter by Sydney-based design teacher, Matthew Kiem, that infrastructure company Transfield stands to profit from new detention infrastructure contracts with current Abbott government while the multinational company remains major sponsor of the 19th Biennale of Sydney. I agree with Matthew’s call to boycott the arts event in light of this disgraceful act of injustice by Transfield. No company should profit from the misery of those that seek refuge from war and poverty. I urge anyone inside and outside the arts to support this call to boycott the major arts event.
See Matthew’s open letter here:
My background regarding Transfield and the 18th Biennale of Sydney.
In 2012, I produced an artwork in protest against Transfield, major sponsor of the 18th Biennale of Sydney, for receiving a $24.5 million contract from the Labor government to provide infrastructure for a refugee detention facility on the island of Nauru. I set fire to this artwork on the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne, with the support of artists and activists from Sydney and Melbourne. This was to demonstrate that Transfield cannot hide its acts of injustice behind its arts and cultural philanthropy.
See the Facebook pages here from 2012:
I hope the 2014 call to boycott the 19th Biennale of Sydney sends a message to as many people as possible, in Australia and overseas, that Transfield must not get away with its profiteering on the misery of refugees, while claiming that it supports freedom of expression in the arts.
Van Thanh Rudd