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This Artist Is Calling Out Junk Food By Photographing Kids As Suicide Bombers

Warwick Thornton says junk food and alcohol are far more dangerous than terrorism in Australia.

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Luka, 2015 by Warwick Thornton. (Anne Schwartz Gallery)

A provocative series of images by artist and filmmaker Warwick Thornton has drawn parallels between suicide bombers and the health effects sugar is having on Indigenous Australians.

Titled “The Future is Unforgiving,” Thornton's latest exhibition addresses the issue of the high rates of chronic heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol in the Aboriginal community.

“The ticking time bomb is bad diet, bad stuff that we get fed every day, which is legal. That shit is killing us,” Thornton told The Australian.

The exhibition features three large photographs showing Aboriginal children looking despondent. Reminiscent of suicide bombers, explosives are replaced with fast food containers, beer cans and coke cans and strapped to the kids' bodies.

The Samson and Delilah director says the message is simple: What you eat and drink today could kill you tomorrow.

“You can make bad decisions now that will have massive repercussions for the rest of your life. That’s what it’s about. How we behave and how we choose now what we’re going to leave our children,” the artist says.

Artist Warwick Thornton (Getty)

Thornton says people should be more concerned about the appalling health problems in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community then terrorism.

“We’re all dying from bad food, not from terrorists.”

A smaller photograph of the same children holding cultural objects, which includes a boomerang and a slingshot, accompanies each photograph. The objects represent traditional hunting practices prior to colonisation when Indigenous people had healthier diets. Thornton says that lean meats and native vegetables have been replaced with cheap, mass produced fatty food and alcohol.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islanders are three times more likely to have diabetes than the rest of the population.

Almost a quarter of all Indigenous people aged over 18 have high cholesterol with only one-tenth of the people who took part in the study aware that they had cholesterol problems.

"The Future Is Unforgiving" is currently showing at the Anna Schwartz Gallery in Melbourne until August 22.

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