One Thousand Red Shoes Highlight Asylum Seeker’s Plight


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The issue of asylum seekers, or boat people as they are commonly referred to, is a global one. The question of how to tackle this growing human disaster is baffling politicians all over the world. Through an event called "Floating Land" taking place this week on the Sunshine Coast, an Australia artist uses a unique method to draw people’s attention to this growing problem. Here’s more from our Australian correspondent.

Floating Land, one of Australia’s leading Green Art events, aims to use art to bring public awareness to current environmental and social issues.

Sunshine Coast artist Wendy McGrath made and painted 1,000 red shoes to bring attention to the plight of the boat people.

The 1,000 red shoes stand out on the quiet and picturesque Coolum Beach.

[Wendy McGrath, Coordinator, Red Shoes, The Next Wave]:
There is lots of symbolic meanings to red, and in particular it was a color worn by suppressed people, slaves in the slave trade wore red bandanas around their neck.

It took Wendy four months to make and paint the shoes and two-and-a-half days to assemble her display.

[Wendy McGrath, Coordinator, Red Shoes, The Next Wave]:
“And also symbolically shoes are meant to be a transition, a journey, a transition from one stage to another.”

The boat that crashed off Australia's coast near Christmas Island last December 15, killing about 50 asylum seekers, was the inspiration behind Wendy’s work.

At this stage, no one seems to know what the answer is to the increasing number of boat people seeking asylum globally, but Wendy hopes her work will help people to think about it.

[Wendy McGrath, Coordinator, Red Shoes, The Next Wave]:
“I don’t have a solution but I know that if everyone does think about it there’ll be a better solution than what we’ve got at the moment.”