Watercolour painting entitled: 'SIEV IV: Children Overboard', created by Saif Shamkhi in 2014. The painting portrays a scene from 2001 when crew from the Australian naval vessel HMAS Adelaide boarded the Olong (SIEV IV), a boat carrying asylum seekers from Indonesia, including the artist and his family. The SIEV IV sank shortly afterwards with no known fatalities but this incident occurred in the aftermath of the Tampa crisis and the harsh rhetoric and treatment of onshore boat arrivals.

Physical Description

Watercolour painting on paper, depicting blue sea with a primarily grey ship containing people wearing red lifejackets.


Statement of Historical Significance:
This object depicts an incident relating to asylum-seeker boat arrivals during the height of the post-Tampa debate in 2001. The artwork offers a personal interpretation of the experience of a contemporary refugee journey and is accompanied by the personal testimony of the artist who was a refugee on the SIEV IV. It provides a visual and personal focal point for the critical national issue of asylum seekers, off-shore detention centres and Australia's contentious immigration policies and activities in this area since 2001. It is extremely challenging to represent these personal stories and issues through material culture and this artwork relates to a larger objective to collect the stories and material culture of asylum seekers and detainees.

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