SYDNEY, Australia — On Thursday evening, Australian artist Mike Parr buried himself alive under a busy road in Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania.
For 72 hours Mr. Parr has been entombed in a 25-square-foot steel box just underneath Macquarie Street, in front of the colonial-era Town Hall. He has water and bedding but no food. Cars, most unaware that he is there, drive right over him.
On Sunday night, Mr. Parr, 73, emerged to a cheering crowd.
Mr. Parr is no stranger to extreme acts, having once sewn his lips together to highlight Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers. But “Underneath the Bitumen The Artist,” his third and final piece for the annual Tasmanian festival Dark Mofo, is his most provocative.
The act of performance art, he says, is meant to honor the hardships of both the convicts whom the British brought to Tasmania, and the Indigenous people whom the British slaughtered there. He said the burial symbolizes the burying of Aboriginal history — particularly the Black War, a 19th-century conflict fought between British settlers and Indigenous Tasmanians, who were virtually wiped out.