Australian artist Ben Quilty has paid tribute to his friend and student, Myuran Sukumaran, on the one-year anniversary of the Bali Nine ringleader’s execution.
Sukumaran, 34, and fellow convicted drug smuggler, Andrew Chan, 31, were executed by firing squad on Indonesia’s Nusakambangan island on April 29, 2015.
The pair spent a decade in Kerobokan Prison after attempting to smuggle heroin out of Bali in 2005.
Quilty was introduced to Sukumaran in 2012 after the imprisoned man expressed a desire to paint.
Sukumaran’s paintings, including one of the Indonesian flag dripping with blood and a self-portrait with a gaping hole where his heart should be, became a haunting reflection of their final days on death row.
Quilty posted a 166-word tribute and a photo of the self-portraits to Facebook on Friday.
“Rest in peace Myu, with a brush in your hand my friend,” the post reads.
“One year today. Seems a little like it was all just a really bad dream, like when you’re a kid with a temperature and the nightmares rollick through your tiny brain.”
Chan’s family attended a Hillsong chapel in Sydney’s northwest for the anniversary on Friday, while Sukumaran’s private service is expected to be held on Saturday at the nearby DaySpring Church in Castle Hill.
Chan’s brother Michael previously said the family had been struggling ahead of the anniversary.
“(It) has been a roller coaster ride for the family to come to terms with the loss,” he told Reprieve Australia, an organisation fighting the death penalty.
“There has not been a day that has gone by that he is not in our thoughts. Countries need to look at ways to rehabilitate prisoners instead of executing them.”
Febyanti Herewila, who married Chan two days ahead of his execution, told Reprieve his legacy to abolish the death penalty will continue.
A spokeswoman from Quilty’s studio told AAP they are planning to exhibit Sukumaran’s work in western Sydney early next year, followed by a national tour.
“Next year you will prove again to the world the outcome of rehabilitation, the profound importance of forgiveness and compassion and most importantly of all, the power of art,” Quilty wrote, adding he would be sending Indonesian president Joko Widodo an invitation.