I have been selected for the Gallipoli Art Prize with the painting, ‘Bones of the land, the collective unconscious’. The prize, judged by John McDonald, Jane Watters, Barry Pearce and John Robertson, reflects the creed of the Gallipoli Memorial club, values of “loyalty, respect, love of country, courage and comradeship.” The exhibition is being held at the Gallipoli Memorial Club, Sydney, the 23rd of April to the 3rd of May. My work, acrylic on linen, 98 x 107 cm, focuses on the landscape, “The landscape along with the Battle of Gallipoli is fused in the Australian collective unconscious, a place of memory, suffering and of war. Bones of the land are remnants and relics of this past. Images of soldiers carrying wounded comrades and a statue of an Ottoman soldier carrying a wounded Anzac, at the Gallipoli battlefield cemetery, have loosely inspired the figures within this landscape. It is the collective empathy of human suffering and compassion that unites all.”
Damien Minton, the curator of the annual event now part of Art Month, the ‘Redfern Biennale’, asked me to contribute this year. An exhibition with a difference, on the streets of the Sydney suburb, Redfern. Outside the commercial gallery context and on the streets of the NSW Housing Commission precinct; readymade objects, found materials, photography, all responded to the environment. I found it a liberating experience, placing art out of doors in an installation context. It made me realise it would be great to see more art in the streets without the accompaniment of commerce. The readymade exhibition was only held for one day, the 21st of March 2015.
“Be ready, again, to view for free readymades, sculpture, multi media, new media, painting, found object or even a cobweb on the street. This year, 2015, with the assistance of local community service centres, the Redfern Biennale will feature the display, on the street, of artwork by local NSW Housing Commission residents. The Redfern Biennale precinct is focussed around the fences and footpaths of Walker Street, bound by Cooper and Redfern Streets, Redfern.
The Redfern Biennale is an outdoor, eclectic, democratic free-for-all happening that will just happen on the day.
There is no Council approval, we are just placing the work on the streets for 7 hours.
Whether it is John Cage remarking ‘beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look’ the notion of this show stems from the art dealer Damien Minton photographing readymade objects and clusters around the streets of Redfern and posting them on social media.” (Art Month, Yellam Nre)
As the internationally renowned contemporary curator Yellan Nre commented in his/her essay for the Redfern Biennale 2014, ‘Clusterfuck Aesthetics, the Radicality of Garbage:
“The nihilism of the readymade – both sneering and naïve, complete yet broken – defines our experience of contemporary art today. Objects umoored from the womb of the white cube are without referent or narrative, and yet generate narrative in their very abandonment. Art made in public space is an assault on the narrative of community, and complicates the periphery of our social engagement. But when the anti-establishment gesture of the guerrilla artwork is subsumed within the cannibalising assault of gentrification, how can the art object reclaim its radicality?
“In its democratizing gesture of a free-for-all pile of stuff on stuff, Redfern Biennale is a shot across the bow of government sanctioned social sculpture for the greater good. It places public art back in the hands of the public, where they are free to ‘engage’ with it as they wish. The utopian desire, imagined or otherwise, of a multifarious yet united society is thus enacted via the analogy of trash. The value of what we discard, conceal and detain outlines the border of our collective culture. Thus the artist’s gesture of displaying a work of art in public space becomes one of defiance and generosity. In doing so, it confounds Duchamp’s exhortation to indifference to the aesthetics or origin of an object – it enforces direct interaction with the situation of appearance and context. Destructions should take place more rapidly.”
My work ‘Domesticity’ incorporated a collection of found materials that reflects my personal world at present. The stretcher frame without a painting except a small sketch of mother and child, signifying the amount of time you get to do your own work! The domestic world with its olive branch, acceptance, patience and love.