ARARAT - Veteran artist Geoff Todd has taken his concerns about the current tension between Australia and Indonesia direct to Bali with the opening of an exhibition themed 'Friendship', that explores and analyses the state of the relationship between Jakarta and Canberra.
The exhibition showcases 44 works by Mr Todd and is being held at Positive Negative Gallery on Jl. Drupadi in Seminyak.
Mr Todd said his exhibition was inspired by his embarrassment at the current situation experienced by the two countries.
"When countries have differences of opinion, whether it's over asylum seekers or spying or anything, I just want to remind the politicians, the powerful people, that there are people on the ground who are friends across the water," he said.
"And these friends are the ones who put the politicians in power."
Through the exhibition, Mr Todd said he wanted politicians on both sides to worry more about protecting friendships, instead of worrying about getting the best for their own country.
"When there's a problem, they should work together, not against each other," he said.
Mr Todd is encouraging Australians travelling to Indonesia to come and see his works, and was pleased with how many had shown up for the opening in January.
Former Indonesian ambassador to Australia, Sabam Siagian, launched the exhibition and spoke fondly of Mr Todd's works and his ongoing relationship with the country.
Mr Siagian said the two countries had always been good friends and Mr Todd had captured that through his paintings.
"This painter has been coming to Indonesia since 1990, visiting us frequently, not only Bali. And he captured the mood," he said.
Sabam said one of the paintings, titled Touch, which portrays an Indonesian and an Australian girl playing on an iPad together was a particularly outstanding interpretation of the friendship.
"That's our friendship, right there," he said.
"Of course, our bilateral relationship could not be that simple, nor romantic like that.
"I do hope also that Australian visitors to Bali, when they pass by, have a glimpse of this."