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Reproduced courtesy of Claire Bailey

The Last Leg

Date: 2005
310 x 180 x 410 mm
3000 x 2000 x 5000 mm (entire work when displayed)
Medium: Wood, steel, brass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Copyright: © Claire Bailey
Object Name: Sculpture
Object No: 00040507

User Terms

    One of the boats comprising the The Last Leg which has five figures inside the boat. The Last Leg is an original work of art by Australian artist Claire Bailey that consists of six boats constructed from wood, steel and brass. It is displayed suspended from the ceiling. The boats contain metal figures of migrants fashioned from life boat ballast. A map of Australia has been excised from some of their chests.
    This work by Bailey encourages audiences to reflect on the nature of migration by sea, the volume of vessels which brought migrants to Australia, and their hopes and dreams which is symbolised by a map of Australia on their hearts.
    SignificanceThe sculpture The Last Leg is significant in that it acknowledges the importance of migration by sea in Australia's history, and also embodies one individual's response to recent immigration legislation and policy.
    HistoryThe Last Leg is artist Claire Bailey's response to the waves of boat people who have migrated to Australia. In her artist's statement Clare describes how she has witnessed or been connected to three migration waves. Her parents were part of Australia great Post World War II migration to Australia. As a child she watched refugees from Vietnam arriving in boats that 'hardly seemed bigger than a bathtub' on television and she has recently witnessed the desperation of boat people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

    Claire wants her work to be provocative, reminding audiences not only of the 'epic journeys' of recent boat people, but of 'all the journeys and voyages, starting with the First Fleet that have in part created this country... The whole fabric of our culture is influenced by the migration of people arriving by sea'

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