“If you don't accept people can change...no one has an incentive to change” ~
Myuran Sukumaran (2015)
Myuran Sukumaran (17 April 1981 – 29 April 2015) was an Australian who was convicted in Indonesia of drug trafficking as a member of the Bali Nine. In 2005, Sukumaran was arrested in a room at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta with three others. Police found 334 g (11.8 oz) of heroin in a suitcase in the room. According to court testimonies of convicted drug mules, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the co-ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling operation from Indonesia to Australia. After a criminal trial, Sukumaran was sentenced on 14 February 2006 by the Denpasar District Court to execution by firing squad.
Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran made a personal appeal for mercy to Joko Widodo, painting a portrait of the Indonesian president and signing it with the words 'People Can Change'. After lodging an appeal against his sentence, this was initially dismissed by the Bali High Court. A judicial review conducted by the Indonesian Supreme Court on 6 July 2011 affirmed the death sentence. Sukumaran’s plea for clemency was rejected by the President of Indonesia on 30 December 2014, and Sukumaran was expected to face execution, together with Chan. The execution was carried out on 29 April 2015.
Myuran Sukumaran led an art studio for his fellow prisoners during his time in Kerobokan prison, where he was mentored. Myuran taught English, computer, graphic design and philosophy classes to prisoners. The portrait of Mr Joko Widodo signed 'People Can Change' is his most recent work. He painted the oil on canvas artwork in Kerobokan prison in late January 2015, in his final weeks there before being transferred to Nusakambangan Island. Myu painted multiple self-portraits while on Nusakambangan. His final painting resembles a bleeding Indonesian flag. He was recently awarded an associate degree in fine arts by Curtin University. Myuran Sukumaran had his first major Australian exhibition at the Campbelltown Arts Centre in January 2017, curated by noted Australian artist, Ben Quilty.
‘Alone from night to night you'll find me
Too weak to break these chains that bind me
I need no shackles to remind me
I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner
From one command I stand and wait now
From one who's master of my fate now
I can't escape for it's too late now
I'm just a prisoner, don't let me be a prisoner.’
Following the executions of Bali Nine death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, feature documentary 'REDEMPTION' is dedicated to the life's work and contribution of the artist Myuran inside one of Indonesia's most notorious high security prisons located on the remote island of Bali, Indonesia. Kerobokan Prison is where Schapelle Corby spent her last nine years. Having already visited this facility, I was approached by the boys’ Australian lawyer Julian McMahon to help supply exclusive material which was utilised during the court case to prove their rehabilitation, then later released on a global scale by all major media outlets / news networks. As a professional film maker, I subsequently felt a responsibility to tell his full story to the world and this production contains previously unseen footage which formed the most compelling news story of the year.
Aims & Objectives
Around the time of Schapelle Corby's release, my main objective was to invest time and energy initially promoting the prison’s Arts Rehabilitation Program where I consequently also founded the 'Kerobokan Prison Artists' social media channels, with the goal to assist them in selling artwork and support themselves with basic necessities from inside the prison. This philanthropic cause continues to be successfully supported by volunteers to date. The program began three years ago, as part of the prison’s emphasis on criminal reform. It’s all about channelling the prison experience into something constructive, whilst chronicling change in the prisoners themselves. I still remain in regular contact with both prisoners, friends and members of the Bali Nine.
• Sunrise live interview in Norway – Ivar Schou (Ms. Sc. Philosophy & Psychology, lecturer & college director) about his personal relationship with Myuran Sukumaran • exclusive interview between Myuran Sukumaran & Norwegian friend Ivar Schou • introduction by Myuran Sukumaran’s mentor and internationally recognised Australian contemporary visual artist, Matthew Sleeth • Kerobokan Governor Suddonjo with Myuran Sukumaran talking about the Arts Rehabilitation Program • Kerobokan Governor Suddonjo speaking with prison artists• Myuran Sukumaran with mentors, artists & visiting Norwegian students• personal visitor’s experiences inside Kerobokan prison• tour of the Arts Rehabilitation Program • footage of Myuran Sukumaran painting inside the studio • Kerobokan prison artists auction with Majell Hind (Australian Consul General), Nyoman Putra Surya Atmaja (Head, Correctional Division Bali Justice & Human Rights Ministry), Kanwil Kementarian (Head, Regional Office Ministry of Justice & Human Rights) • statement from Bali9 lawyer Julian McMahon, on the death penalty sentence • Sunrise live cross to Bali displaying Myuran Sukumaran’s final artworks, prior to executions • closing statement from Myuran Sukumaran's mentor, internationally acclaimed Dutch painter Nico Vrielink • original music clip 'Free My Hands' created for the Mercy Campaign.