About Goats in Boats
In my travels around the world I have seen goats in deserts and in the most barren regions and wastelands. I have seen them chewing on tin cans and eating roses; I have seen them climbing to get to the last green leaf in the top of the tree and I think, “Isn’t that amazing” and then I correct myself and I think NO that’s just what goats do!
“Goats in Boats” is an ongoing series looking at immigration in a curious and exploratory sense. The G&B theme connects to the long or short time history of every non-indigenous person living in Australia.
To associate goats with migrants in this first series may seem a little unusual. However, my reason for representing migrants in this way is because goats are amazing creatures that have the ability to survive in almost all conditions. Goats, who were also early European settlers in Australia, are extremely curious, intelligent, and indomitable. Everyone I tell about the theme has a story about goats and their tenacity, so it’s reasonable to accept that their determination and resolve is familiar. Migrant stories have the same ring about them.
My own journey as a migrant from the Nederlands at the age of thirteen is explicably connected to these goats in their boats. In this series I sense my own arrival in Australia with my family landing at Station Pier in Melbourne and being excited, curious and a little apprehensive all at the some time. It is impossible to separate myself from the images I have depicted, not only because I pained them but also because the theme is so familiar.
Originally the paintings represented my own journey as a migrant, my family and the stories that were commonly shared around the kitchen table about ourselves and other migrant families. Some of these stories dealt with their struggles associated with their journey and their attempts to assimilate. Mostly I have focused on their strengths, ingenuity and their resourceful nature. However, in more recent times other stories about people coming to Australia in boats has aroused a different interest in me. Whilst the series, so far, has a jovial attitude I feel this will change when I start the next canvas.