DENIED is a current and ongoing research-led portrait project that responds to miscarriages of justice through a series of intimate paintings.

In collaboration with metropolitan and regional communities, and leading legal scholar Dr Robert Moles, DENIED depicts those wrongfully convicted of serious crimes across Australia and those that actively advocate for justice. Uniting with existing legal advocacy, this project brings new understanding and awareness to this nationally urgent issue. Dr Moles asserts the seriousness of the problem stating that “Australia has the worst criminal injustice record in the Anglosphere.”

Representing the innocent as they need to be seen; as people who have been harmed by the system that ought to have protected them, each portrait aims to explore profound upheaval, displacement and vulnerability. Highlighting poignant individual cases and systematic indigenous inequity, DENIED uses art as a vehicle for social justice.

Utilising the humanising agency of paint, Parra renders sensitive works from face-to-face sittings. Holding space for exchange, each portrait helps to restore sitter’s normality, humanity and dignity. It is the intention of this project to create a body of work that witnessed collectively will invoke the human capacity for empathy, urging us to look and engage in a critical conversation.

Covering historical and ongoing cases, each sitter has been found innocent through forensic evidence, on the basis of misconduct and/or exoneration/acquittal. While some have been released; many are still incarcerated, waiting on their appeal to the High Court.