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MH17 Suspects, Charges, Prospects and the Road to Prosecution June 20, 2019

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• Igor Girkin – ex colonel of the Russian Federal Security Service. • Sergey Dubinskiy – ex military officer of the Russian military intelligence service. • Oleg Pulatov – ex military officer of the special units of the Russian military intelligence service. Leonid Kharchenko is the only Ukrainian national accused

Four men – three Russians and one Ukrainian – will be charged in relation to the shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew on board.

Photo from Hrabovo Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images

Dutch prosecutors will launch a criminal trial in The Hague on March 9, 2020. But the accused are beyond the jurisdiction of the court, and will most likely be tried in absentia.This means the accused will not be physically present in the court room.

The prosecutors argue the four accused were jointly responsible for obtaining a BUK TELAR missile launcher (a launcher for self-propelled, surface-to-air missiles allegedly owned by the Russian military) in the city of Kursk, and launching it from Ukraine.

They say the four men are responsible for the atrocity because they had the intention to shoot down an aircraft, and obtained the missile launcher for that purpose.

While investigators have not accused any suspects of actually firing the missile, they say in future they may identify others with that responsibility.

For the victims and their loved ones, these Dutch criminal trials present the best hope of legal acknowledgement for the tragedy.

The MH17 atrocity

Photo from Hrabovo Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images

On July 17, 2014, flight MH17 was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over Ukraine.

The Joint Investigative Team (JIT), led by Dutch authorities and comprising investigators from Malaysia, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine, concluded in 2016 that the flight was shot down by a Russian BUK missile.

The JIT identified the launch location as a field in eastern Ukraine, which at the time was in territory controlled by pro-Russian fighters.

The countries central to the investigation – including Australia, which lost 38 people – and the victims’ families have explored a range of legal strategies to assign blame for the attack.

Then Foreign Minister Julie Bishop initially proposed a war crimes trial for MH17, but this was vetoed by Russia in the UN Security Council.

Some civil claims on behalf of victims’ families are ongoing before the European Court of Human Rights.

And hearings are ongoing before the International Court of Justice, where Ukraine seeks to make a case against Russia. Ukraine cites the MH17 atrocity as characteristic of broader Russian aggression and lack of respect for Ukrainian sovereignty and independence.

Who are the accused?

Photo from Hrabovo Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images

Three of the four accused are Russian nationals, believed to be living in Russia.

Igor Girkin is a former colonel in the Russian security service. At the time of the atrocity, Girkin was the minister of defence in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, a pro-Russian separatist region of Ukraine.

The other two Russian accused, Sergey Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, are former Russian military intelligence agents who worked under Girkin.

Leonid Kharchenko is the only Ukrainian national accused. Investigators are not certain of his current location. At the time of the atrocity, Kharchenko led a separatist combat unit.

Photo from Hrabovo Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images

Photo from Hrabovo Bohdan Warchomij Metaphor Images



Brad Rimmer: Don’t Look Down June 18, 2019

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Signed Book + Signed Print: Brad Rimmer: Don’t Look Down


**LIMITED TIME ONLY: SIGNED Book and signed Print*
Signed print Aletsch Glacier printed Offset printed in CMYK 240mm x 170mm, printed on 300gsm Symbol Matt Plus. Signed by the photographer on reverse of print.

Book Size: 195 mm wide × 261 mm deep
Pages: 68 pages
Binding: Hard Cover
Publication date: 2019
ISBN: 9780987305091

From ancient times to the present, the Alps have had mythological, spiritual and romantic significance. Recognisable peaks, like the Matterhorn, have become trademarks for chocolate companies and the like; their rugged profiles filtering into our everyday lives, even in places far away. Over the past century, advances in engineering have made access to viewing platforms easy in the Alps, and now thousands of tourists line up to photograph these scenic vistas every day. For his series Don’t Look Down, Rimmer sought to alter these views, and thereby question the experience of what we already know in our collective memories. By deliberately inverting the image into an unnatural colour palette, the landscapes become foreign and unsettling.

Brad Rimmer is an Australian photographer who works on long-term projects of portraiture, landscape and social documentation. Based in Fremantle, he seeks to uncover the human within often alienating everyday environs. He is the author of three photo books with T&G Publishing: Silence (2010), Don’t Look Down (May 2019),  and Nature Boy (September 2019).

In 2009, Rimmer received a Mid-Career Fellowship from the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts to publish Silence. Subsequently, the Art Gallery of Western Australia acquired the entire Silence exhibition of 30 works; which curator Dr Robert Cook described as, ‘One of the most important bodies of images about Western Australia made to date.’

In 2017, Rimmer received the Artsource / Atelier Mondial residency in Basel Switzerland. The images created during that time form the basis for Don’t Look Down.

Nature Boy (2019), set in the Western Australian Wheatbelt where Rimmer grew up, is a personal visual narrative, derived from the cultural idiosyncrasies of place, identity, belonging, and memory.

Numerous national and corporate art collections have acquired Rimmer’s work, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Wesfarmers Collection, Artbank, St John of God Health Care and Murdoch University.

Brad Rimmer is represented by Art Collective WA: www.artcollectivewa.com.au

Text by Paola Anselmi
Paola Anselmi is an independent curator and arts writer based in Perth, Western Australia. Over 25 years she has held curatorial and research roles at several prestigious art institutions and collections including the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Centre for Contemporary Art Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy. A PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia, her research focus is Western Australian photographic history. She is a regular contributor to Australian arts publications on Western Australian contemporary practice and has published numerous exhibition catalogue essays.

Under The Shield: Inside Chornobyl’s New Safe Confinement RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service Andriy Dubchak It has been two years since a giant steel shelter was slid into position over Chornobyl’s crumbling radioactive ruins. RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service takes a rare look at operations inside of the containment. June 18, 2019

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Under The Shield: Inside Chornobyl’s New Safe Confinement:

With HBO releasing a new and dramatic documentary on the events involving the world’s biggest nuclear disaster these photos by Andriy Dubchak are a sobering reminder of the reality of nuclear exclusion.

Chornobyl has been spelled using Ukrainian language spelling rather than Russian language spelling.

Thanks to Radio Free Europe for this post. This two year old steel barrier made by a French company is the latest attempt to contain the nuclear disaster that still impacts Ukraine.


Australia’s Ash BARTY wins French Open at Roland Garros: advances to World No 2 June 9, 2019

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A photo of Ash Barty as a young child has gone viral after her incredible triumph at the French Open.

The 23-year-old beat unseeded Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-3 in Paris on Saturday to become Australia’s fourth French Open champion, and first in 46 years.

Barty, who only returned to tennis three years ago, was ruthlessly efficient against the 19-year-old as she became just the 17th Australian female player to win a grand slam.

“It’s remarkable,” Barty said.

“At the moment it’s a bit too much and a bit out there, really.

“But it’s amazing.We have done the work, and we tried to put ourselves in these positions. Now that we’re here, it’s just incredible.”

Barty’s success in Paris means she is the ninth different winner from the last 10 slams and a genuine contender for Wimbledon next month on her favourite surface of grass.

Five years after quitting the sport in despair, Barty has now joined Australian legends Margaret Court (1962, ’64, ’69, ’70, ’73), Evonne Goolagong Cawley (1971) and Lesley Bowrey (1963, ’65) on the Roland Garros honour roll.

“For the last fortnight, the stars have aligned for me,” she said.

“I have been able to play really good tennis when I’ve needed it.

Revelation Film Festival 2019 Photos Bohdan Warchomij May 30, 2019

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Revelation started life in 1997 as an ‘underground’ event in the back
room basement of the Greenwich Club, at the time Perth’s smoothest jazz and music venue. All works were screened purely on 16mm film and the festival also featured live music, poetry and guest presentations. Revelation was designed to showcase a range
of unique and progressive short, feature, documentary, archival and animated works which were at the forefront of contemporary underground filmmaking, at the same time contextualising these works through a variety of curated archival programs highlighting
pivotal points in independent filmmaking.

Richard Sowada Festival Director and Jack Sargeant Program Director

Rapidly outgrowing the intimate surrounds of the Greenwich Club, Revelation now spans venues across Perth and Fremantle and features some of the most acclaimed films from the international film festival scene and includes gallery and installation works, live performances, an academic conference and a unique seminar and masterclass series. Revelation’s market penetration is today at its most comprehensive ever, engaging new local, national and international audiences. More than 500 films are submitted each year for selection from local and international filmmakers, and the event’s screen conference component is fast becoming a huge draw for the world’s filmmaking community.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Revelation was invited to present the public screening component of the Australian International Documentary Conference as part of the Perth International Arts Festival in 2000 and 2001 and since then has seen itself as a stand-alone event.
The festival’s screen conference is expected to become an even larger draw for Australian and international filmmakers.

Richard Sowada
Suzanne Worner
Jack Sargeant

Mari Katayama Japanese Photographer at the Venice Bienale May 27, 2019

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A dreamy, cinematic glamour pervades Japanese photographer Mari Katayama’s frames. She stages her self-portraits on the beach or in snow white bedding, among flowery fabrics, and in front of a glimmering painting. She wears her hair in a fashionable black bob. Her skin and red lipstick are pristine. It takes a moment for viewers to realize that her body diverges from those in the pin-up or fashion shots to which we’ve become accustomed—Katayama’s legs have been amputated, and she has a cleft left hand.It’s a surprise, but it shouldn’t be: While the media is expanding its conception of beauty, the concept is too often limited to the able-bodied.
Yet the young artist’s oeuvre is about much more than the condition—tibial hemimelia—which led to her to decide to amputate her legs at age 9, while she was growing up in Gunma prefecture. The photographs are celebrations of glittery, girlish making, and of traditional craft objects. They’re lush vehicles for all of Katayama’s creations: painting, sculpture, and of course, her own self-presentation. She creates a theatrical world in which she’s simultaneously the author, director, and star. The pictures’ confidence, and Katayama’s inclusion in the 58th edition of the Venice Biennale, augur an exciting career and a receptive international audience.
In one of the pictures on view in the Biennale’s central exhibition, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” at the Arsenale, Bystander #02 (2016), Katayama sits tall on a burgundy sofa with a floral pattern, flanked by pillows she sewed herself. The backdrop is sparkling, textured teal—part of one of her paintings. Stuffed, sewn arms studded with pearls wrap around her like a shawl. They feature lifelike fingers: She prints hands directly onto the material. Katayama appears like a queen from a fairy tale of her own making.
As a child, Katayama had to wear specially tailored clothes that her mother and grandmother sewed for her. She picked up the skill, as well as other creative outlets, to distract herself from her school, where bullies targeted her. She drew and played in a band. A fashion student named Tatsuya Shimada noticed her unique aesthetic when she was 16, and she became a model in his graduate catwalk show. Over the next decade, she continued making work and attended the Tokyo Art Institute.
A recent trip to Naoshima island inspired Katayama to make the stuffed appendages. There, she learned about naoshima onna bunraku, a traditional all-female style of Japanese puppet theater. She’s noted how the art form features dolls that don’t have any legs. In her series “bystander” (2016), her arms surround her while she lies on the beach, sometimes on her cellphone: She looks like a mermaid-cum-influencer, washed up from the sea.
In Venice, Katayama has found a more receptive audience than in Japan. In her home country, she struggles to communicate with viewers. “People tend to ask [me] to make [my work] crystal clear and explain too much,” she told me at the Biennale, via her translator. At the opening, she met curators and artists who appreciated the nuance in her photographs.
At the Arsenale, Katayama mounted an installation featuring the objects she uses throughout her photoshoots. Half prop closet, half three-dimensional mood board, the presentation further confirms her maximalist aesthetic. On top of a table, floral pillows commingle with beaded fabrics and stuffed legs with shells sewn into the material. Decorated boxes feature cut-out texts and pictures. One appears to be an article about Stan Douglas

—another biennale artist who similarly creates cinematic magic in his still photography. Foot braces rest at the back of the table, as does a tiny gold shoe. Katayama has mounted another self-portrait behind all these objects, featuring herself amid mannequins and mountains of materials. Blinking lights at the side offer additional radiance.

‘Your Move’: Graffiti On Putin Mural In Crimea Taunts FSB May 23, 2019

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SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — A mural in Crimea depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin has been defaced with a profane piece of graffiti calling the Federal Security Service (FSB) a “bitch.”

Painted stencil-style lettering appeared on the mural on an apartment building in the capital of the Russia-controlled Ukrainian region, Simferopol, on May 21.

The white lettering standing out from the blue naval uniform Putin is depicted wearing read “FSB, shall we play? E2 – E4. Now it’s your move, bitch.”

The site was cordoned off by police and what appeared to be plainclothes law enforcement officers.

E2 – E4 is a popular opening move in chess, and many in the former Soviet Union would recognize it as a reference to The Twelve Chairs, a 1928 satirical novel by authorial duo Ilf and Petrov.

Putin headed the FSB in 1998-99 and was a longtime officer of its predecessor, the Soviet KGB.

The graffiti also included the wording “Telegram-Party of Crimea’s Independence, Sovereign Crimea,” and the little-known group’s address on the social network Telegram. Its account was created in April.

People identifying themselves as representatives of the group contacted RFE/RL on Telegram and said that the 100-centimeter-by-150-centimeter graffito was painted on the mural on May 21.

They said that their final goal was Crimea’s independence from any country, and that they plan similar stunts in the future.

Russia seized control of Crimea in March 2014, sending in troops without insignia, securing key facilities, and staging a referendum deemed illegitimate by Ukraine and most other countries.

Rights groups and Western governments say Russia has conducted a persistent campaign of oppression targeting Crimean Tatars and other citizens who opposed Moscow’s takeover of the Black Sea peninsula.

Bob Hawke Prime Minister of Australia RIP May 17, 2019

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Bob Hawke, one of the nation’s greatest public figures and a hero of the Australian Labor Party, has died on the eve of an election the former prime minister just one day ago predicted would be won by the party he led for nearly a decade.

The Labor legend died on Thursday surrounded by family in his Sydney home, drawing to a close one of the most substantial chapters in Australian political history. He was 89.

“Today we lost Bob Hawke, a great Australian – many would say the greatest Australian of the post-war era,” his wife, Blanche d’Alpuget, said. She was also his biographer.

Paul Keating, who served as treasurer under Mr Hawke and defeated him in a leadership ballot to become prime minister in 1991, said the death also represented the passing of “a partnership we formed with the Australian people”.


“Bob possessed a moral framework for his important public life, both representing the workers of Australia and more broadly, the country at large,” Mr Keating said on Thursday night.


Eurovision 2019: Kate Miller-Heidke represents Australia at song contest’s first semi-final in Tel Aviv May 16, 2019

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Australia’s 2019 Eurovision Song Contest entrant, Kate Miller-Heidke, has made it through to the grand final after bringing glitz, glamour and spectacle to the stage in Tel Aviv.

Miller-Heidke, who performed atop a moving pole in a billowing white gown, sang Zero Gravity, a ballad about emerging from depression.

Her win, along with nine countries out of the other 16 that were also vying for a spot, secures Australia a spot in Sunday morning’s showdown.


Tamara Dean wins Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize with “Endangered” May 8, 2019

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Former Sydney Morning Herald photographer Tamara Dean has won the $50,000 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize with a painterly image entitled Endangered.

The winning image, which shows a group of naked swimmers diving underwater, was part of a series made last year when Dean was invited to visit the Heron Island Research Station off the Queensland coast to learn about the effects of climate change.


“I feel incredibly fortunate because the level of entries this year is absolutely outstanding,” she said. “I was not confident I would be sitting in this position.”

One of the three judges, photographer Stephen Dupont, confirmed the final field of 30, which also included work by Herald photographers Nick Moir and James Brickwood, was unusually strong.


“There were a few photographs that all of us judges really loved in terms of a winner. It was not an easy decision,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, Tamara’s photograph was chosen purely because it was so powerful. We kept going back to it. It’s a renaissance-looking, unsynchronised ballet.”

Dean used volunteers from the Heron Island visitors and scientists for the series.

“It’s a photograph I have wanted to make for a while,” she said. “I’ve seen photographs of single figures under the water but I had never seen that kind of thing. It’s very difficult as a photographer to make images that haven’t been made before.”

The image represents Dean returning to the environmental concerns that dominated her early 20s when she was involved in forest campaigns.

“Going on the trip with the Climate Council really reminded me where I started and put a rocket under me to use my visual language to communicate how deeply I feel about the environment.

“I find the images I see of the destruction of the environment incredibly important but I feel people can easily switch off and turn away from problems they think are too hard to confront.

“I wanted to make images people want to look at and to show the beauty of humanity and the environment and show just how much we have to lose.”

The Moran Contemporary Photographic Exhibition, until June 2, Juniper Hall, Oxford St, Paddington