Thursday, 27 June 2013

Insight in Australia

“Ah, Old Egg we have been recommended to speak with you about a large painting we would like to illustrate the development of Australia since its discovery in 1770. A sort of abstract painting that could grace the gallery we have here in this brand new building. Would you be interested?

“An abstract painting, Are you sure that is what you want?

“Yes, yes, we need it for a backdrop for official functions and dinners where guests can glance at it and be reminded of our progress but in a way that is not too hard edged if you know what I mean?”

“Well my paintings tell a story but sometimes you have to look quite hard to see their meaning.”

“Yes, yes, that is just what we want, a painting by an artist with insight. Would you be interested?”

“Of course if the price is right.”

“We can come to an amicable agreement. I am sure.”


Three months later at the viewing

“So pleased you have come to speak to us about your painting, Old Egg. It’s big isn’t it?”

“Australia is a very large country.”

“Yes, of course, of course. There is a lot of blue in it.”

“We are surrounded by sea.”

“Silly me, I had forgotten. What are those black bits?”

“That recognises the first people, the aborigines.”

“Good, that is important, but what are those red bits?”

“That is us trying to eradicate them, but it is a symbol only as there are no guns or prisons as it was done mainly by neglect.”

“Hmm. However I like the fish in the blue.”

“Yes, do you see how they are swimming away from the factory ships that are harvesting everything, seals, little penguins, albatrosses and just there the coral of the Great Barrier reef is being damaged.”

“Well don’t let’s worry about the sea…hang on what are all those people doing in the water at the top of the picture?”

“That shows our current immigration policy where the most desperate new arrivals are treated like criminals for wanting a better life and to be safe here.”

“I’ll just say they are swimming off the beach which is such a fun thing to do.”

“No, they are drowning.”

“Tell me about the green and black bits and the birds above them.”

“That is where we are destroying our old growth native eucalypt forests and replacing them with northern hemisphere pines and other species which mature very quickly. The birds are looking for a home as we have chopped down their old ones.”

“What about the red bits?”

“That recognises our mining industry that makes so much money, so that we don’t need to manufacture anything but we buy sub standard products from developing countries instead, not that our unemployed can afford them.”

“I was hoping to see our huge river systems illustrated in the painting but for the life of me I can’t see it.”

No, I left it out as we only have one major river system in the whole of the continent and because we use all the water in it for crops like rice that were never intended to be grown in an arid region the river doesn’t flow out to the sea anymore. So I excluded it as it is valued so little.”

“Old Egg, I really don’t think you have painted what we wanted to see.”

“Surely you are mistaken I even have your representations just here.”

“What there? I thought they were little fat children playing a game.”

“Nearly right! They are the financiers and business men and politicians all in a circle counting their ill gotten gains with their backs to the rest of Australia.”

“I’m sorry Old Egg, the picture you painted is just too big to fit in the place provided.”

“I thought it might be.”


  1. Brilliant! But the painting you describe could be made to fit pretty well any country you care to name, since the whole world is a damned mess.

  2. What about the red bits?

    Oh - they are fields of harvested tall poppies. We have a mandatory height restriction here...don't like people getting above themselves or showing signs of cerebral growth :)

  3. People, especially politicians, would do well to be careful what they wish for!

  4. Can we get a reprint and petition that one be put in all most frequented public spaces in every country/city/town to remind us what we're doing?

    Well done, Old egg.

  5. Hmm...Quite accurate summation of most countries today...

    A very well-done piece.

  6. Keen and sharply piercing...