“When I began the project, I did not know where it would lead, and nor did I realise the stories they told me would hold such significance for each one – a chance encounter that changed the course of one man’s life, the experience of war for two, and leaving their home and culture for three others. And while the circumstances were completely different, several experiences are common to two or more men – chasing snakes and lizards as young boys, a deep respect for aboriginal culture and art, and a great love of nature. I enjoyed seeing these connections as the stories unfolded.
Some people (myself included) doubted that it would be possible to present the stories in the form of a visual poster but, with the help of a highly creative designer, I feel the stories and images combine to portray the essence of the nine men.
My portrait of each man is designed to complement their story, and to show who they are today. They were not intended to be studio portraits. I am especially grateful to Catherine Caia who did such an incredible job on the design of the posters and to John Hardiman, who not only printed the posters and portraits but helped me with the framing.
I am deeply grateful to the nine men – to Clarry, Dale, Doug, Jeff, John, Les, Lionel and Theodoros who told me their stories with such honesty. Bob Flanagan died at the end of last year – I thank his daughter Deb for his story; it has a particular significance and I am certain Bob would be smiling. Without these men’s stories, the exhibition would not be taking place.”
– Amanda Stuart