I f you consider yourself a patron of the arts, then you’re probably already familiar with the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. Located on the shores of the suburb’s lake, the centre is home to galleries, a 110-seat cinema and an impressive range of studios.

Sukumaran’s portrait of Kevin Rudd, who was involved closely with his case. Photo: Jordan McSweeney

At the moment, the centre is currently presenting Another Day in Paradise, a major art exhibit featuring the works of some of Australia’s best artists, such as Khaled Sabsabi, Megan Cope and Matthew Sleeth. Best of all, it’s totally free.

Because the exhibit emphasises the importance of forgiveness and showing compassion for your fellow human being, I thought this would be a great experience for many students, who are often feeling a little bitter at this time of the semester and looking for ways to calm down and de-stress. What I discovered, however, was something far more emotional and confronting.

The exhibit features a series of paintings by Myuran Sukumaran, the Australian drug dealer who, along with Andrew Chan, was executed by an Indonesian firing squad back in 2015.

A collection of self-portraits by Sukumaran. Photo: Jordan McSweeney

The paintings, done during his incarceration, reveal a solemn and despairing look into the fearful mind of a man awaiting his imminent death. His work also raises many questions regarding mercy and fairness, all of which are bound to make those who agreed with Sukumaran’s execution uncomfortable.

While the works from the other artists are very poignant, Sukumaran’s are still the most likely to elicit the biggest reactions, especially in those who feel very strongly against capital punishment. Perhaps the most powerful piece in the entire exhibit is his simple but stylistic depiction of the gun he would inevitably face.

“I can’t remember the last time an exhibit has affected me this deeply”, said Deborah Queen, an avid follower of Canberra’s art scene.

Her husband, Brett Queen, agreed.

Gun (Large) by Sukumaran. Photo: Jordan McSweeney

“I think my favourite painting is the bloody version of the Indonesian flag, where the back is signed by Sukumaran and all the others who were up for execution. It’s just so incredibly sad,” he said.

Another Day in Paradise is running at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre every Monday through Friday, from 10am to 5pm until the 29th of April.

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