Adelaide street artist Peter Drew believes 'Real Australian Say Welcome' - now that he’s pasted 1000 screen printed posters around the country with that exact message, he wants real Aussies to get involved and keep the campaign alive.
Some consider Peter a modern day super hero, using the power of art to fight against all the bigots who would rather spit on asylum seekers than shake their hand. He has been overwhelmed by the amount of support and attention he has garnered, and now wants other people to carry on the message in their own ways.
“People keep coming to me to make stickers and prints and whatever else and I just think that it’s a task too big for me... I think it’d be better if other creative people can feel free to get involved,” Peter says. This led to Peter releasing the copyright to ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’, so anyone who creates their own design using the slogan can print it onto products and even sell them.
“That’s the thing I’ve enjoyed most about the project is that other people have taken ownership of it and I’d like other people to be able to keep enjoying it freely.”
The artist now has two new projects on the go, one is still “secret” while the other he can reveal is a national post-it project about the Afghan cameleers.
“Until the 1930s there were thousands of camel drivers living and working Australia and it’s sort of a forgotten piece of Australian history,” he says.
“The interesting thing is during the ‘White Australia policy hundreds of these men were given exemptions because their role was so important in Australian economy that we had to break our own rule.”
There are hundreds of photographs of these camel drivers in state archives around the country, which Peter is going to use for his next project.“These are some amazing mug shots because a lot are Islamic, so they have big turbans and amazing moustaches. I want to find those images and blow them up large and make them into posters,” he says.
“There’s this conception that Islamic people have only started coming here recently, when they’ve been living in Australia for hundreds of years.”
Just like the ‘Real Australians Say Welcome’ campaign, Peter hopes these similar projects will help Australian’s appreciate our history and think differently about our diverse culture today.
Follow Peter Drew’s work at www.peterdrewarts.com
Interview - Caleb Sweeting
Photos - Dave Court