Tag Archives: radical art

Supporting the call to Boycott the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014)

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


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featuring 2 new videos – “football v Tony Abbott” (2013)


In this video I’m taking aim at current conservative Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.

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December 13, 2013 · 1:35 pm

featuring 2 new videos – “football v Tony Abbott” (2013)


In this video I’m taking aim at current conservative Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.

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December 13, 2013 · 1:31 pm

free gaza footballer 2013

free gaza footballer 2013

In Footscray, Australia

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June 6, 2013 · 4:49 am

No Cuts to Education! 2013

No Cuts to Education! 2013

In Melbourne, Australia

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June 6, 2013 · 4:47 am

No Cuts to Education!

No Cuts to Education!

In the city of Melbourne, Australia

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June 6, 2013 · 4:45 am

Wounded Soldier about to Jump off Bridge

media release
Wounded War Veteran to jump off Princes Bridge, Melbourne on Anzac Day

Anti-war activists including Van Thanh Rudd, Sam King and James Crafti placed a hyper-real sculpture created by Rudd of an anonymous Australian war veteran on the railing of Princes Bridge overlooking Melbourne’s Yarra river on Anzac Day 2013. It was a successful intervention by the activists to create an impending suicide attempt by a severely wounded (physically and psychologically) Afghanistan war veteran.

Taking place at approximately 9am, (when the official Anzac Parade starts), the creative action aims to draw attention to the hidden realities of war that so often get masked over and deliberately sidelined by myth-making events such as Anzac Day (Australia).

One of the realities that is frequently glossed over is the psychological impacts felt by soldiers in active duty and those returning after their tours. Veterans are increasingly prone to suicidal thoughts and actions, loneliness, depression, family breakups and job insecurity. Prime Minister Gillard was recently confronted on talkback radio by a soldier who complained about a lack of support for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He spoke of the confusing experience when approaching the Dept of Veterans’ Affairs:

“My experiences with DVA, [Department of Veterans’ Affairs] is a very jagged field and nobody can give you direct answer of where you’re going to be and where you’ll end up, which adds to the stresses of the discharge process,” he said.

Julia Gillard responded with the usual government inaction, “we’re looking into that”.

It is also widely known among the military establishment that it is incredibly difficult for veterans to voice their opinions on this issue. Former commander of Australian troops in Afghanistan, Major General Cantwell recently told the ABC’s 7.30 that:

“Regrettably I still meet many, many veterans who don’t feel they can speak up and if they do speak up they feel they have been systemically punished in a way.”

He also outlined that there will be a tidal wave of veterans with PTSD coming from duty in Afghanistan as troops are withdrawn this year. How the Australian Government responds to this will remain to be seen.

Successive Australian governments have not come very far since former PM Billy Hughes promised the welfare of returned WW1 soldiers in 1917. There must be a link between the myth making of Anzac Day and the reasons why veterans are unable to comfortably voice their mental health grievances, and also their ability to oppose what is clearly the senseless slaughter of innocent civilians and soldiers in imperial war situations.

An article written recently by journalist Marin Flanagan highlights this through WW1 Veteran Lieutenant Siegfried Sassoon who wrote to the House of Commons (UK) in 1917:

”I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers … I have seen and endured the sufferings of the troops and I can no longer be a party to prolonging these sufferings for ends which I believe to be evil and unjust. I am not protesting against the conduct of the war, but against the political errors and insincerities for which the fighting men are being sacrificed.”

In return for Sassoon’s stance, he received calls to be court-martialled for treason. This not unlike the situations facing whistle blowers today such as US private Bradley Manning who is still being very harshly treated by the US military establishment for his exposure of the realities of war.

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April 26, 2013 · 2:05 pm

Street Art piece for Laneways Music Festival 2013

inspired by the street art of Mark Jenkins, this piece was done for the Laneways music festival in Footscray, Melbourne. It's a protest against Victorian state premier Ted Ballieu's massive cuts to public education

inspired by the street art of Mark Jenkins, this piece was done for the Laneways music festival in Footscray, Melbourne. It’s a protest against Victorian state premier Ted Ballieu’s massive cuts to public education. Sign says “Ballieu Stole My Education”

click here for more information on the state of education in Australia


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To EVERYBODY and the more than 100 artists involved in the Biennale hailing from Australia, New Zealand, Asia Pacific, the Americas, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East,
See this link for a list of the artists: http://bos18.com/artists

It has come to our attention that two major partners of the 18TH BIENNALE OF SYDNEY, 2012 is logistics company Transfield (since 1973) and the Australian Government. As you may already know, the Australian government has awarded Transfield a $24.5 million contract to provide cleaning, catering and security for an inhumane refugee detention facility on the island of Nauru. This south pacific island is once again the Australian government’s offshore detention centre for refugees who attempt to enter Australia by boat. Over 2000 refugees have arrived since the Labor government announced it would re-introduce detention on Nauru in mid-August, 2012. So who knows how many refugees are destined to be imprisoned on this island, and for how long? The previous Howard government’s racist policies had already shown us the terrible physical and psychological effects this unnecessary detainment had upon fellow humans. We must try stop it immediately.

The title of this year’s Biennale is: “All Our Relations”. It may fast lose its positive connotation of connectivity and creativity between people of the world when these two major partners are deciding the brutal fate of thousands of refugees. The 18th Biennale of Sydney’s website says that one of the benefits of corporate sponsorship of the event is to showcase “community and corporate responsibility”. It is clear that Transfield and the Australian Government see refugees who arrive by boat as not part of this “community”.

With your help, by OCCUPYING OR BOYCOTTING the 18th Biennale of Sydney, we hope to send a message to the Australian Government and Transfield, that we won’t tolerate the re-opening of Nauru as an offshore detention facility for refugees. We also won’t tolerate the way in which arts and culture is abused by government and corporations to deceive the public and achieve ends that are not at all in the interests of the well-being of humanity.

We hope you consider the OCCUPY / BOYCOTT action. We only have until Sunday the 16th of September to make an impact!

From concerned fellow artists and refugee activists.

For further information call Occupy Sydney – ph Lanz 0410722000 email occupysydney@gmail.com
Or call Van Thanh Rudd on mob. 0430 397 074

in Melbourne, Australia

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