Van Thanh Rudd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Van Thanh Rudd
Born 1973 (age 44–45)
Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Education Victorian College of the Arts, RMIT University in Melbourne and Griffith University in Brisbane.
Known for Contemporary art
Movement Political satire, performance art

Van Thanh Rudd (born 1973)[1] is an Australian artist, activist and the nephew of Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.[2] His artworks have created controversies due to their left-wing political content.[3] Rudd is also a member of Socialist Alternative.[4] He was formerly a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP),[5] and contested the seat of Lalor in the 2010 federal election against Prime Minister Julia Gillard[6][7] through the RSP, an unregistered party. He polled very poorly, generating 0.50% of the vote.[8] Rudd studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, RMIT University and Griffith University.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Rudd was born in Nambour, Queensland,[10] to Malcolm Rudd (the brother of Kevin Rudd) and Tuoi,[7][11] and now resides in Footscray, Melbourne.[12] He has a partner of Chilean heritage, Tania; daughter, Loyola; and son, Manolo. Rudd says that his leftist political awakening came after meeting his partner, whose family fled Chile after General Augusto Pinochet deposed the elected socialist Salvador Allende and began violently targeting leftists.[7][13]

Hugo Chávez mural[edit]

In 2007 Rudd created an artwork depicting a large mural on a gallery wall at Trocadero Art Space in Footscray with signatories of Australians who supported a visit to the country by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. It was titled "Smells Like Sulphur: A Tribute to Venezuela and the Art of Telling Bush to Piss Off", referencing Chavez' UN General Assembly speech the previous year, when he called former US President George W. Bush "the devil".[14]

Banksy homage[edit]

In 2008 the City of Melbourne rejected a painting by Rudd depicting Ronald McDonald setting fire to Thích Quảng Đức with the Olympic torch. According to Rudd, the artwork was a homage to British street artist Banksy and a comment on human rights abuses in the run-up to the 2008 Olympic Games. Rudd accused the City of Melbourne of political censorship which they denied, claiming he was solely picked to feature in the Ho Chi Minh City exhibition for his Vietnamese heritage.[2]

Connex controversy[edit]

In 2009 Rudd made an artwork critical of Connex's parent company Veolia Environnement's light rail contract which is to link Israeli settlements in the West Bank with Jerusalem. The artwork was displayed at Platform Artists Group's public gallery, adjacent to Flinders Street Station, a major train station in Melbourne.[15] Connex threatened Rudd with legal action over his use of a similar font and colour-scheme to the company's logo and the Anti-Defamation League accused the gallery of racism.[16] The Electronic Intifada claimed that Rudd's artwork was a boost to the campaign against Connex and Veolia[17] – a part of the general Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel – whose contract to run Melbourne trains expired in November 2009.[18]

Used car part from an Afghan civilian car[edit]

IN 2009 Rudd exhibited in Melbourne a used part from an Afghan civilian car, purportedly destroyed by an International Security Assistance Force missile in Southern Afghanistan. It accompanied a price tag of $1.2 billion. Rudd estimated the value based on what he believed was "the astronomical price paid by victims of war". He broke down the multi-trillion dollar US war budget for the Middle East since 2001 and included other variables such as the cost of wounded civilians and soldiers.[19]

Anti-racism protest[edit]

On Australia Day 2010, Rudd and RSP member, Sam King, dressed in Ku Klux Klan outfits with the signs "Racism – Made in Australia" in front of the outfits, outside the Rod Laver Arena during the Australian Open to protest the refusal of the Victorian Government to treat the attacks on Indians in Victoria as racially motivated and also the federal government's policies towards asylum seekers.[7][20] Rudd and King were arrested within 10 minutes and charged with inciting a riot.[21] Rudd also told the Indian weekly newsmagazine Outlook that the "dominant culture in Australia is a racist culture."[22][23]

Relationship with Kevin Rudd[edit]

In a 2010 interview on 3AW, Kevin Rudd expressed to Neil Mitchell that he was not a fan of his nephew's political views but supported the notion of free speech in Australia, adding, "[you] can choose your friends but...".[7] According to a member of the RSP, the PM and his nephew are not in regular contact.[21] In a later 2010 Fairfax radio interview, on the same subject Kevin Rudd stated: "Do I agree in any way with what he's done? No I don't, absolutely."[7] Rudd was the subject of an episode of ABC program Australian Story, broadcast in August 2010, which reported his uncle had been invited to appear, but declined.[7][24]

2010 federal election[edit]

Rudd contested the seat of Lalor for the House of Representatives in the 2010 federal election against Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard[6] for the unregistered RSP.[25] This signals the RSP's failure to generate the 500-member minimum required by the Victorian Electoral Commission to register as an official political party.[26] He garnered a total of 516 votes, scoring 0.50% of the overall vote, with a +0.50% swing. This placed him as the second least preferred candidate, ahead of regional tourism developer, Marc Aussie-Stone, compared to Gillard as first preference, who garnered 66,060 votes, scoring 64.26% of the overall vote, with a +4.37% swing.[8] The artist claimed on an ABC radio interview his reason for running in the election was that the appointment of Gillard as PM marked "a more conservative path for Labor" and that she was "influenced by the mining magnates... [and] the conservative unions".[27]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Van Thanh Rudd Artabase, 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Battersby, Lucy (23 May 2008). "Rudd nephew's artwork rejected". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  3. ^ Bolt, Andrew (11 June 2007). "Some relatives shouldn't be encouraged". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  4. ^ ….On joining Socialist Alternative. Van Thanh Rudd, 29 October 2012. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  5. ^ Art & the capitalist crisis Direct Action, 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  6. ^ a b Lill, Jasmin (13 August 2010). "Kevin Rudd's wild nephew takes on Julia Gillard for seat of Lalor". Courier-Mail. News limited. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "Kevin Rudd speaks about Van Rudd". Neil Mitchell. 3AW. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "austory" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "austory" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  8. ^ a b "House of Representatives, VIC Division - Lalor". Australian Electoral Commission. Commonwealth of Australia. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  9. ^ About the artist 2009. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  10. ^ [dead link]Brushing up on Rudd's politics The Age, 11 June 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Kevin Rudd defends nephew Van Thanh Rudd's right to protest". Herald Sun. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Van Thanh Rudd: The Carriers, Local Terrain - Visual Arts (kultour) Multicultural Arts Victoria. Accessed 7 March 2010.
  13. ^ Detailed Bio Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  14. ^ Controversial petition a work of art Arts Hub, 4 June 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  15. ^ Sexton, Reid (8 March 2009). "Rudd's nephew clashes with Connex". Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  16. ^ McLennan, Azlan (11 March 2009). "Connex tries to censor pro-Palestinian art". Socialist Alternative (139). Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  17. ^ Nieuwhof, Adri (12 March 2009). "Installation criticizing occupation, Veolia causes stir". Electronic Intifada. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  18. ^ Petition Lyn Kosky Dump Connex, 19 March 2009. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  19. ^ Schafter, Monique (7 October 2009). "The story behind a Hungry Beast story". Hungry Beast. ABC. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  20. ^ Milovanovic, Selma (26 January 2010). "PM's nephew marks 'Invasion Day' with anti-racism protest". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Rudd's nephew fined for 'inciting riot'". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  22. ^ "The Dominant Culture In Australia Is A Racist Culture". Outlook India. Fully Loaded Magazines. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  23. ^ Wade, Matt (1 February 2010). "Indian journal focuses on 'hate'". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  24. ^ Lill, Jasmin (13 August 2010). "Kevin Rudd's wild nephew takes on Julia Gillard for seat of Lalor". Courier-Mail. News limited. Retrieved 16 August 2010. 
  25. ^ "Lalor, (VIC) Melbourne Outer South-west suburbs". ABC Elections. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 September 2010. Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "About political parties". Victorian Electoral Commission. Commonwealth of Australia. 2010. Retrieved & September 2010.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  27. ^ "Rudd's nephew attacks Gillard". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.