Once again I’ve used a photo of my favourite Apothecary’s Rose, now blooming our garden, to create a simple image of what to me, portrays an open heart, compassion and tenderness for those needing sanctuary and shelter for whatever reason.
I quite often accidentally take photos close-up of surfaces, colours and other weird stuff because my Lumix camera is very sensitive and if you touch the screen, it’ll pop a photo for you. So when I was downloading photos recently, I found I’d also managed to take a photo of some surface which I thought would work as a good backdrop in my digital art. I sparked it up a bit with BeFunky as I really like their editing gizmo, and then turned to Photoshop where I created a number of images in different colours.
The one I used for this digital art is the purple backdrop and over it I’ve superimposed a photo of an Apothecary’s Rose in full bloom, and showing the enormous heart of the rose which is what we used to identify the rose as it’s so unusual. Then I added rays to the heart’s centre to portray love shining out.
This piece is called “Sanctuary” in support of those in need, whether it be unemployment, sickness, homelessness, poverty, fleeing wars, repressive regimes, torture, droughts and other hardships, and seeking sanctuary as asylum seekers and refugees. I offer this image of an open heart not only to those overseas but also in our own nations where too often those in difficult circumstances are treated with scorn and contempt, instead of understanding, respect and support.
I did this today in response to the actions of the Federal Government in Australia which intercepted two boats of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka on the high seas, who had set sail from a refugee camp in India. The Minister for Immigration refused to answer any questions about the boats, maintaining a veil of secrecy over government actions which would do justice to a totalitarian regime like North Korea. In essence, the boats were “disappeared”. It has since emerged that apparently four questions were put to the asylum seekers by video to determine whether they were asylum seekers or not (totally outside of all legal protocol) and 41 were turned over to the Sri Lankan navy. The adults returned to Sri Lanka now face two years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine. On the second boat, 11 people have been tortured by Sri Lanka’s intelligence services.
Since then the High Court has ruled that the Federal Government must give 72 hours’ notice before it returns asylum seekers to Sri Lanka and has halted the planned immediate transfer of 153 more claimants to the island’s armed forces. The actions of the Federal Government are illegal, it’s called refoulement and it recalls the dark days of handing Jewish people seeking refuge back to the German Nazis.
Thankfully in Australia there are many, many decent people who are standing up for the asylum seekers, including the legal eagles who went to the High Court to prevent the Federal Government returning the asylum seekers to Sri Lanka without following legal principles, the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre, and many community organisations taking action to support asylum seekers and refugees.
So this rose of Sanctuary is not only to depict an open, loving heart for people in need where they may be. It is also to honour those who take action wherever it is needed to support those in troubling circumstances and who make sanctuary possible for those seeing comfort and the kindness of the human heart.
May Australia find its way once again to an open heart and show compassion and refuge to those coming to the shores of this island nation seeking succour and assistance, and restore its self-respect.