10,000 Origami Boats to Be Ignited Along Southbank, May 11
10,000 origami boats made from bank notes will be ignited in a Vietnamese 'hell money' burning ceremony from 5pm, Sunday 11 May, 2014 at Southbank spillway. After spending the last 10 days living in No Vacancy Gallery and eating only refugee rations of rice cakes, sugar cane, sweetened condensed milk and water, media are invited to capture artist Phuong Ngo ignite the paper boats in a fire pyre in honour of the thousands of asylum seekers who have lost their lives at sea.
The child of a Vietnamese people smuggler, Phuong Ngo has endeavoured to re-create his parents' own asylum seeking experience by living in public display at No Vacancy Gallery, eating only the small rations they had on their boat journey from Vietnam in the early 80s. As part of the work, entitled Article 14.1 after the clause detailing rights to seek asylum in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, visitors to the gallery have helped create the almost 10,000 origami boats out of 'hell money'.
Hell money is a form of joss paper printed to resemble legal tender bank notes. This faux money's sole intended purpose is to be offered as burnt-offerings to the deceased and is often practiced by the Chinese and several East Asian cultures, including Vietnam.
This ritual signals the end of Next Wave Festival 2014, which has activated sites across Melbourne with pockets of contemporary art over the past 28 days. Billed as Australia's biennial festival of emerging artists and ideas, Next Wave Festival is a city-wide, month-long celebration of cutting-edge arts and culture from around Australia and the globe,
In 2014, Next Wave celebrated 30th anniversary with a tightly curated selection of the most ambitious, risky and surprising new art by 238 artists, including Phuong Ngo and his project Article 14.1.
WHAT: Vietnamese-Australian artist Phuong Ngo igniting an expected 10,000 origami paper boats in a fire pyre on Southbank
WHO: Phuong Ngo, artist and son of a Vietnamese people smuggler Emily Sexton, Next Wave Artistic Director
WHEN: 5pm, Sunday 11 May, 2014
WHERE: Southbank Spillway, Southbank Promenade