Untitled (Requiem – Flight MH370) by Neil Emmerson

A requiem in three parts

A complex work by Neil Emmerson has found a home in a prestigious Australian collection.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean on 8 March 2014. Some debris has been found, but the wreckage location and the cause of the accident are still unknown. The passengers included two Iranians who were traveling under false names with stolen passports. They were en route to seek political asylum in Germany where they would be able to live openly as gay men. 

Neil Emmerson, Senior Lecturer and artist, created an artwork as a requiem for these two men, one tragic story amidst the larger tragedy. The work comprises three pieces, incorporating two earlier works and one new one:

  • The new work lies on the floor with a blanket carefully laid across it, a photograph of frosted leaves printed on the blanket - bed or mortuary slab?
  • Hanging on the wall is a garment, like a double-ended King in a set of playing cards, a double bodybag.
  • A triptych of framed prints show a man kneeling, as if in supplication before his execution.

This work has now been purchased by RMIT University in Melbourne for their permanent collection. Neil has previously been Artist in Residence at RMIT University in Melbourne, in 2016.