Ben Quilty Opens Up About His Friendship With Myuran Sukumaran

First published Tuesday 5 July by VICE

Angus Smith

A bright orange life jacket hangs from a metal butcher’s hook. It’s torn in several places, the insides spilling out. The scent of oil paint fills the room. It smells damp and salty, like the earth before a storm.

Ben Quilty reaches up and pulls some stuffing out. “These vests came off the beach in Lesbos,” the artist says. Lesbos is where many refugees first plant their feet on EU soil. He waves the foam in the air like a fan. “Packing foam,” he seethes. “It’s not even going to float.”

The Archibald winner walks over to a smaller vest, “All fake,” Quilty says, “some little person wore that. And hopefully survived.” These vests feature in his latest exhibition, influenced by his travels to Serbia, Greece, and Lebanon earlier this year with author Richard Flanagan to witness the world’s refugee crisis first hand. Today though, this isn’t Quilty’s focus. Today, he wants to talk about his mate, Myuran Sukumaran.

Read the full story at VICE

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