'My love is Bulletproof'
Installation by Nikky Agnello
Solo exhibition May 2019, Cube 37 Gallery, Frankston Art Centre
Australia is seen as having some of the strongest gun laws in the world but an Australian artist says these laws are under attack.
Growing up in South Africa the artist is no stranger to violence. She states ‘I used to pass through bomb detectors and AK47s on my way to buy a loaf of bread. I recall working late at night on a school project and dropping to the ground when shots were fired outside. I also remember waiting for 30 mins before continuing with my work without pausing to wake my parents or call the police because violence was so common.’ After having traveled across the world to live in Australia the last thing she wanted was to see Australia begin to go down this dark and violent path.
If you could place an invisible forcefield of protection around those you love would you do it? It’s often the case that you don’t know what you have before it is gone. The artist says ‘I see dangerous warning signs that I fear are part of a much larger trajectory’. April to May saw 8 people shot dead in 8 weeks in Melbourne, an unprecedented rise in violence. Just this week in Brisbane two people were shot when they tried to hide in a bus shelter.
‘My Love is Bulletproof’ by Melbourne conceptual visual artist Nikky Agnello is an emotionally charged art installation to provoke discussion around Australia’s changing gun laws.
This installation invites you into a dark environment of gunfire frozen in time. In the center a child’s bulletproof vest constructed from hundreds of love letters written by mothers to their children creates a force field of love while diverting a cloud of shrapnel. Multiple explosions prickle and splinter creating ominous tension and shrapnel flickers over the installation brought to life through an animated projection.
This threatening landscape shines a warning red spotlight on attacks being made to once bulletproof gun laws in Australia by wealthy pro gun lobbyists. Gun ownership has risen to 3.2 million, equal to the time of the Port Arthur massacre which saw strict gun laws introduced. In NSW there is 1 gun for every 8 people. Laws created 23 years ago have not been updated and are now outdated by gun manufacturing technology. Fringe political parties such as One Nation openly seek funds from the NRA while the Sporting Shooters Association boasting a fortune of 34 million have formed their own political party to influence policy.
The Christchurch Massacre in April 2019 by an Australian is an urgent reminder that society cannot allow apathy to dictate policy. The question remains is Australia dexterous enough to dodge the bullet?
‘My Love is Bulletproof’ by Nikky Agnello, Cube 37 Gallery, Frankston Art Centre, Melbourne, May 2019. Photo by Michael Mavracic.