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Protest Tampons

I first wrote about the Protest Tampons here on the blog on the 16th of January in a post titled Stop The Tampons.

Refugee advocacy groups have been telling us, the general public, that refugee women do not have free and easy access to sanitary products, to nappies for their babies, that toilet paper and water is rationed. This message has been slow to filter out into the mainstream. RISE first raised this matter in 2011. Advocacy groups have been telling us of the inhumane treatment of refugees and we are not listening. This article published in the Green Left  titled, “Life in Detention a Daily Shame” Shames me. Locking up refugees has now become big business and there is a lot of money to be made in cruelty.

The Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison responded to Destroy the Joint’s call for women to protest the Goverment’s cruel asylum policy, with assurances that of course refugee women have all the tampons they will ever want, buckets of tampons, free tampons,

There’s open access and continued access on demand, female welfare officers, all of those sorts of things…”

I don’t know about you but when a government minister assures me that things are OKAY whilst rigidly controlling the information flow to the media, I start to worry that maybe things are not as okay as we are led to believe.

I have finished making my Protest Tampons and The Spouse made me a barbed wire bowl to hold them.

Tampons in barbed wire bowl

Protest Tampons in barbed wire bowl Kim Foale

Protest Tampons Kim Foale


Now that I have finished the work, I don’t actually have any idea what to do with them, other than some vague ideas of plonking them in a window somewhere in town so that people can see them. I was going to send them to the Ministers office but I decided that was a sure fire way to bury them forever.

I am sure with your help internet, we will have a bright idea and the Protest Tampons will find a new home.

I also hope with all my heart that the refugees will also find a new home, here in Australia with all the rest of us who are descended from boat people.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dorothy March 4, 2014, 3:46 pm

    No brilliant ideas here, but they definitely should be on display in some gallery. Also, you are BRILLIANT!

    • frogpondsrock March 4, 2014, 4:10 pm

      I am grinning away now Dorothy, Thank you 🙂

  • Elephant's Child March 4, 2014, 4:46 pm

    Echoing Dorothy here. On both counts. I do have some ideas but they are not practical and are born from my temper over the whole shameful issue.

  • Krista Petrauskas March 4, 2014, 6:34 pm

    Just as an idea to bounce off from, or reject
    I was thinking your bowl needed a setting – you have it sitting on a banding wheel and that made me think of presentation- Some thoughts:
    Perhaps, placed in a very plain, stark, iron or some heavy looking metal , unadorned, clean lines , simply constructed cage – frame , that is cube-like in appearance with the sides not filled in , the barbed wire bowl sitting on a piece of granite (representing a uncompromising, hard place)
    The bowl with it’s sharp twisted wire and spikes (is pattern and texture in term’s of visual elements) complimented by, the bowl filled with the stark white forms and the softly coloured strings and red writing (as you have photographed it ( visually, are varied and form repetitive elements as well) representing ‘a bitter feast to swallow’ on one hand, and the feminine degradation on the other, with the bloodied words ‘speaking’ the connotations of trampled rights and pleas for justice.
    The political statement and intent presented and framed within a strong sculptural framework, a way of housing a potent image – looking at it in terms of sculptural elements as well as in keeping with the symbolic nature of the piece. I suppose the cage-frame is housing the ‘entity’ (whole situation) boxed away, just like the asylum seekers are contained, constrained and fenced in.
    The barbed wire already has a well recognised symbolic currency, amnesty, mercy for the down trodden and refugees
    I can’t help think of some of the early Dada sculptures Giacometti ‘s Palace at 4:00 am (1932) and his, “Woman with her throat cut” 1948 or The Impossible III (, Maria Martins) 1946
    Your sculpture doesn’t look like theirs, but, is in keeping with showing a disturbance of ‘something’, from awful dreams, nightmares
    or presented simply on a stark plinth of granite. ALL you can do is try different presentations and see if too much or too little.

    • frogpondsrock March 5, 2014, 8:44 am

      This is a lovely concept and quite appealing Krista but I am on the downward spiral of this making cycle and I am “done with” the tampons. The photos were the final stage and now I am itching to go onto my next project before I lose the creative spark. In an ideal world I would have an assistant or partner who would take up the challenge of presenting the work (tampons) in a melange of their vision and mine.

      I am not very good at “finishing” because for me it is the making and the writing and photographing of the work that is important. Once the work is done I have lost interest in it and am busily plotting my next ceramic adventure.

      • Krista Petrauskas March 5, 2014, 10:41 pm

        Fair enough – and I can relate to that. I also understand the fact that every ‘artistic process’ has different purposes and reasons for the work coming into being, and the duration of engagement with the work, varies.
        It was interesting and thank you for sharing.
        I think ‘river’s’ suggestion is probably a really good one.
        The next ceramic adventure keeps you growing, extending, and moving on – and here’s to happy plotting, and joy in making, because you love playing with mud.

  • Susan March 5, 2014, 12:34 pm

    I would give this to Mrs Morrison to put in the family bathroom…perhaps a few daisies could be added daily as each one will die daily and she can get a reminder of how close we all are to death and how little time we have to love each other lucky enough to have been born.

  • river March 5, 2014, 1:16 pm

    Display them in a shop or somewhere public if you can with a notice or petition that people can sign, which can then be sent to the minister. In the meantime, send photos to the minister. Dozens of photos. To all MPs .

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