The neon emu is adapted from a 1955 brochure for Chauvel's Jedda, a watershed film about race relations in Australia. But contrary messages lurk within the flash neon design of the bird from the Australian coat of arms: the blinking acronym 'USA' falls from its beak and its backdrop is the Union Jack. Furthermore, the top half of the work's frame is painted black, the bottom red and with the emu's yellow centre these components create a covert Aboriginal flag.
"[Neon is] a sell sell advertising thing that can be tongue in cheek. I love advertising. I wanted to make large text pieces that were desirable. Neon is so beautiful, so intensely colourful. Somehow the medium changes the message. The typical art medium, for example painting, confines the political message. With neon, the idea is hidden but not confined. People can stomach the message in neon." Brook Andrew