Lick Bush in 92 -1992
After my South African anti- Apartheid exhibition in 1990, I was approached by the politisised expatriate Cuban community in Sydney. They wanted me to respond to their call to break the United State’s blockade of Cuba and contribute a work to their exhibition titled ‘Send a ship to Cuba’. I was happy to oblige and utilised a USA’s Democratic Party‘s election slogan to Lick Bush in ’92. I placed this collaged piece of painted canvas in a diagonal band across the American flag like that was also commonly found on Cuban cigar box wrappers. The US flag is reminiscent of Jasper Johns’ pop flag paintings of the late nineteen fifties. Here the white lines are purposefully oozing over into the red horizontal bands. I added the “YOU ARE EMBARASSING U.S.” which I painted to appear indented in illusionistic trompe ‘l oeil.
This relates to the USA’s reprehensible human rights record of doing the right thing by people and I wished to emphasize this point. The USA’s self interest is indeed an embarrassment to the rest of the world.
Suffice it to say the Cuban expatriates were greatly disturbed and did not want to display my painting as they thought it too provocative! How watered-down expatriate politics become in a soft country like Australia. In the end I insisted on its inclusion and it went on exhibition to a limited audience at the Bondi Pavilion, Bondi.