‘FOSTERED’ Profile: Capiche and Cheeky Observer

By Celeste Hawkins

I’ve got a soft spot for Sydney. Every now and then I like to venture out of Melbourne town to explore the diverse and healthy art scene that Sydney has on offer. You may recall an interview I did with the charismatic Mulga a few years ago. He was able to quit his dull day job to focus on his love for drawing and creating quirky characters. Every now and then I will walk into a shop and I see his trade-mark illustrations on something or another! He is represented by ‘Fostered’, an artists’ collective and management company. Have a peek here at the FOSTERED website-to find out more about the philosophy behind their business.

Making new waves this year are two young women artists: Cheeky Observer and Capiche. Read below for a bit of an insight into what makes them tick!

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Cheeky Observer- Mural on Oxford Street

Words from :Cheeky Observer

The thing I loved to do most as a kid was…

Burying my nose in a book for hours on end (yes, I’m a bit of a nerd), or running around with my sister enjoying whatever imaginary situation we’d concocted for ourselves.

The best part of the day is…

The hours of 10am (coffee time) and 6pm (wine time).

Five things I could not do without…

Music, coffee, my sketchbook, wine, and all the awesome people in my life!

My favourite art mediums to use are…

Good old acrylic paint, 0.05 nib pens, MTN Spray Paint, Poscas.

The piece (artwork) I am most proud to have created and why…

Ouch, that’s a tough one. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve created it yet. There’s so much satisfaction that comes from finishing a work, but I’m still searching for that feeling of crazy elation, knowing that I’ve produced something that’s truly mindblowing.

If I had to pick one of my pieces to date, my “Memories” artwork (for Cranium Exhibition 2015) was a complex piece to put together – I was very happy with the end result.

List three people, places or things that inspire your artworks…

Street art, everywhere, all the time.

Music – keeps me ticking. I’ll often incorporate the lines of my favourite songs (secretly) into my works.

Fairytales and fiction novels.

How would you describe your work using just three adjectives?

Restless, detailed, fantastical.

Three artists (including writers, musicians etc.) I love and why…

I have so many! In no particular order, these three came to mind first..

Adnate – for being so amazing at producing works that are both lifelike and story driven.

Alexis Taieb – I’m a big fan of his typography – versatility, refinement and creativity rolled into lettering.

Tristan Eaton – his street art is so cheerful and imaginative. Always makes me smile!

 My hopes for the community I live in are…

Speaking specifically about forms of contemporary art, I hope that my local community continues to foster a sense of appreciation, and place a higher value on what we as artists produce. Though it’s definitely changing, there’s still such a huge gap between what’s done on the street and what sits inside the gallery (in terms of value). Placing a higher value on street art would certainly give emerging artists a lot more financial stability to do what they love, and bring a little more creativity into the world for everyone’s enjoyment.

Where I hope to take my creative work in the future…

Hopefully overseas at some point… and onto the largest walls I can find :)

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Capiche: ‘iSee’ Council Commissioned Paste-up — Northumberland St Carpark, Liverpool.

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Capiche: ‘iSpy’ Council Commissioned Paste-up — Northumberland St Carpark, Liverpool.

the tumble

Capiche: ‘The Tumble’ Council Commissioned Paste-up — Crawford Serviceway, Liverpool.

 

And now…words from Capiche:

The thing I loved to do most as a kid was…

Watch Michael Jackson videos in slow motion so I could learn the choreography. I was obsessed with his music and the way he moved. It was the first form of training I ever had, it definitely set me on a creative path.

The best part of the day is…

The ‘magic hour’ first hour after sunrise or the last hour before sunset, this is when I get my best shots!

Five things I could not do without…

Family/Friends

Music

Camera

Chocolate

Coffee

My favourite art mediums to use are…

Paper

Glue

Photography

The piece (artwork) I am most proud to have created and why…

‘The Tumble’ which was commissioned by Liverpool council. This is my largest pasteup to date. Although it was the most challenging, it has made me want to push harder and go bigger!

List three people, places or things that inspire your artworks…

Community – I’m inspired by the locals and stories that make up a communities large and small.

The Urban landscape – The placement is just as important as the design. Every location offers a new point of view and presents to a new audience.

Abandoned Spaces – The empty abandon shell of a building has no identity and allows me the complete freedom to create. This is often where I started my creative process.

How would you describe your work using just three adjectives?

Textured

Large scale

Documentary

Three artists (including writers, musicians etc.) I love and why…

JR –  Photographer and filmmaker 

I’m inspired by his community based pasteup project ‘Inside Out’. I love the way he facilitates this project giving people a platform from all over the world to take a stand for what they believe in.

James Nachtwey – Photo journalist and war photographer 

I’m inspired by his courage to face the most devastating situations head-on, and his ability to give people in vulnerable situations a voice. His work is a much needed reminder how important photography is.

Icy and Sot – Stencil Artists 

They have such a powerful way of addressing social issues through their design and placement. I’m a huge fan of these brothers.

My hopes for the community I live in are…

A greater sense of belonging where we move beyond tolerance toward appreciation of diversity, where we feel a strong sense of connection, and where every individual feels valued.

Where I hope to take my creative work in the future…

I hope to collaborate with communities throughout Australia to produce public art that represents their voice and values. I want to introduce the concept of large scale pasteups and the positive impact it can have within a community.

Reconciliation Week- 27 May-June 3rd

 

Read some interesting facts here about from Reconcilliation Australia about:  Art Culture and the Archibald Prize…

Read more about Reconcilliation activities all over the country here

If in Melbourne-pop down to this gig tomorrow night at the Arts Centre’s new venue-The Channel

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Rap for Reconciliation
hosted by Kutcha Edwards and Dig Deep

Cost: Free

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the anniversaries of the successful amendments to the Australian Constitution resulting from the 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo Decision in 1992.

This year for the first time, artists from our own Dig Deep Collective, (Arts Centre Melbourne’s resident hip hop program) and songwriter and proud Mutti Mutti man Kutcha Edwards host an event to contribute to the ongoing Reconciliation conversation through music.

Together they’ll blend their lyrical styles to perform a collaborative track live. Special guest emcee and strong Gunditijmara and Kurnai woman, Miss Hood, will showcase her unique and powerful style performing tracks from her debut 2014 release, It’s Fatal.

Dig Deep are also excited to launch and perform tracks from their new EP, United In Difference (U.I.D) which will be available for a download from Bandcamp for pay what you want on the day.

Pop down for a free BBQ and share your National Reconciliation Week events and experiences on social using #NRW2015

Rap for Reconciliation is supported by Mrs Debbie Dadon. Arts Centre Melbourne and the Dig Deep Collective offers a heartfelt thank you to her for her generous support.

Or meet at Fed Square for the Long Walk on Saturday

The Long Walk

What’s on and more…

 

 

 

 

 

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Blakout

Vernon Ah Kee’s film Cant Chant (2007), shown at the 2009 Venice Biennale

BLAKOUT presents a new wave of Indigenous video art at SCA

A new generation of Indigenous video artists is breaking away from painting, which has dominated Indigenous contemporary art for the last 30 years. The artists are now using the screen in a powerful new way to connect with contemporary Indigenous issues confronting urban communities in Australia today.

BLAKOUT is a new exhibition opening today at the University of Sydney’s SCA Galleries, featuring video art by five highly-acclaimed Indigenous artists: Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, Megan Cope, Julie Gough, and R E A. On show are thirteen videos made over the last decade, which explore the diverse and complex experiences of engaging with white Australian history and culture as an Aboriginal.

Nicholas Tsoutas, BLAKOUT curator and Zelda Stedman Lecturer in Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts, said: “Their use of video is confronting, politically charged and socially engaged.

“Video has become an active, political channel for artists to not only challenge the post-colonial social narratives and histories of Australia, but confront the endemic racial and discriminatory attitudes that still exist in institutions and social structures.

“In their own unique way, these artists are activists who are rewriting their cultural histories, but do so unfettered and free from the constraints of society. The BLAKOUT artists speak out loudly, without fear, and knowing that what they say and show in their art is about the need for social change and transformation.”

The subjects and stories of the videos range from historical and modern day events of white settlement, white popular culture and the tragic stories of Indigenous individuals – to intimate tales and triumphs as well as new perspectives of Aboriginal people, who are just not seen as equals, but as leaders in society.

“By using video, which has the power of mass circulation and wider audience reach, the artists are able to develop a greater framework for dialogue between those that possess power and those who have been excluded from it,” said SCA’s Nicholas Tsoutas.

“BLAKOUT is about reclaiming identity, empowerment and self-determination for Aboriginal communities, both urban and traditional. It will emphasise different ideas and attitudes on the role and function of film as a way of critically and politically interrogating social power structures of Australian society,” he said.

Event Details
What: BLAKOUT
When: 15 May-6 June 2015
Where: Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney, Kirkbride Way, Callan Park, Lilyfield
Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-5pm; Sat 11am-4pm. Closed Sun.
Cost: Free
Website: http://sydney.edu.au/sca/

Media enquiries: Mandy Campbell, 0481 012 742 or mandy.campbell@sydney.edu.au

Above image
Vernon Ah Kee’s film Cant Chant (2007), shown at the 2009 Venice Biennale, is inspired by the events of the 2005 Cronulla riots, where racial tensions between Middle Eastern Australians and white Australian beach-goers flared. The chant by white Australian rioters “we grew here, you flew here” – a means of claiming greater entitlement to the beach and surrounding precinct – is translated by Ah Kee as a means of exercising racism. Central to his video Cant Chant is a lone Aboriginal surfer who suddenly appears on his shield-surfboard, moving gracefully and skilfully through the water, as he takes command of the waves. He embodies the resilience of Aboriginal sovereignty, disrupting the iconic image of the beach that represents all that is Australian within white popular culture. Ah Kee’s work critiques Australian popular culture, particularly the dichotomy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal societies and cultures.

BLAKOUT artists and films
Megan Cope – The Blaktism (2014); Julie Gough – Driving Black Home (2009), Attrition Bay (2010); Shadowland (2011), Traveller (2013); Richard Bell – film triology: Scratch an Aussie (2008), Broken English (2009) and The Dinner Party (2013); Vernon Ah Kee – White Fella Normal Black Fella Me (2004), Cant chant (2007), Tall Man (2010); and R E A – Maang (2007), Poles Apart (2009).

 

 

Cirque Africa

Cirque Africa brings the energy of African circus to the Australian big top for the first time this June

This June, Cirque Africa brings the world’s best circus acts from Africa to the Australian stage for the very first time. Cirque Africa is a world-renowned acrobatic circus performance that is unparalleled in its energy and excitement. Having toured the globe, it is coming to Australia for the first time in 2015 and is sure to impress those who appreciate theatre, music and African culture. Produced and directed by ‘Papa Africa’ aka Winston Ruddle, the show is a combination of acrobatics, theatre, song and dance. Cirque Africa is a celebration of African culture, both new and old and has been described as the ‘greatest show from Africa’.

The 90 minute show begins in VICTORIA on the 24th of June in Melbourne, AT BURNLEY OVAL IN RICHMOND. It will remain in Burnley for a month before moving to Marriot water Shopping Centre in Lyndhurst on the 24th of July. From there, it will move to Burnside Shopping Centre for a month from the 24th of August before moving to the Geelong Showground in December. In early 2016, the show will move from VIC to WA before continuing its two year trek across Australia.

Cirque Africa has travelled to the USA, Germany, Costa Rica, Italy, France, Romania, Russia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, performing sold out shows, before coming to Australian shores.

“The show is a true delight for the senses and is sure to get the audience members’ hearts racing!” says Ruddle. We’ve worked extremely hard to present a show that will introduce Australian audiences to African culture, both traditional and modern, and leave them utterly mesmerised. We are striving for an energetic response from the audience – we want you to take your breath away and get you up out of your seat.”

Ruddle and his team have taken on the impossible and are bringing to Australia 70 tonnes of circus and stage equipment, professional sound lighting, elevated seating for 1,100 people and a twelve metre high big top all the way from Africa. This is the first time the show will be performed in a big top and Ruddle is excited to see his spectacle taken to the next level.

The highly-skilled cast is made up of 38 of Africa’s finest aerial artists, jugglers, stilt dancers, contortionists, clowns and more. While the core of the cast hail from Tanzania, the show draws influence from the musical cultures of Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Gambia and Zimbabwe. The cast will be dressed in over 200 one-of-a-kind African costumes and will be joined by an eight piece live band.

Some of the notable performers include but are not limited to; The Amazing Hakuna Matata Acrobats who are the largest African acrobatic group in the world, Emmanuel Laryea, Zaina Shabani, The Charming Wubshet Amare, Baraka Juma, Selemani Musa, Ibrahim Tulwo, The Sound of the Drums from Ivory Coast, Jean-Marc Kouassi Agbogba, Yetnayet Melese & Asmare Nega, Lidiya Dawed & Tegegn Shewalem, Ebrima Mbye, Lazarus Mwangi, Teame Gebregziabher Ersie, Leul & Nahom and Fadhili Ramadhani & Omary Ramadhani all acts back by a 8 piece live orchestra from Zanzibar and Zimbabwe Playing live music composed just for the Australian tour

Ruddle has extensive experience in stage performances, having founded and directed the renowned Mother Africa shows well as Cirkafrika 1 and 2 in all the French speaking countries which have been a global success. When scouring for talent for Mama Africa in Tanzania, he founded Mama Africa’s acrobat school. The artists from Ruddle’s school have performed in venues on five continents, including on New York’s Broadway. Ruddle is the first black African in the world to own, direct and produce a circus show in a big top. Lindani Berman is Co-Director and Scenic Director and is on a mission to perfect a circus that combines the millennial repertoire of the Beijing Circus, the technical mastery of the Moscow circus and the joie de vivre of the Africa continent.

The show is primarily a visual performance and therefore no language or cultural barriers will pose a problem for English-speaking audience members.

Ticketek will be selling all advance tickets. For more information on the show and how to book tickets please visit www.cirqueafrica.com.au. Ticket prices vary depending on seating area.

www.cirqueafrica.com.au

 

GLENFIDDICH ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE COMPETITION

AIR-canada-banner

 

Iconic whisky producer, William Grant & Sons, has just announced the launch of their inaugural Glenfiddich Artists in Residence competition, which will grant one lucky Australian artist the opportunity to live and work for three months at the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.

Glenfiddich will be running the Artists in Residence contest in partnership with Sydney Contemporary 2015, Australasia’s International Art Fair, taking place at Carriageworks from 10 until 13 September. At the Fair, guests will be able to view the final five artist’s work at the Glenfiddich pop-up bar.

The contest is an open call to all Australian artists who are welcome to use any array of mediums with the competition running from June 1st to July 31th, 2015. Finalists will be announced on August 10th and the winner will be announced on September 18th 2015. An esteemed set of individuals will be choosing these finalists, including Rachel Griffiths, Former Lord Mayor Lucy Turnbull AO, Sue Cato & Nick Tobias.

To enter Artists in Residence, visit http://www.glenfiddich.com/au/latest/2015-australia-artists-in-residence/.

 

SONGS OF FREEDOM –

CELEBRATING DEMOCRACY

Ballaarat

Following on from the successful project to re-create the Eureka Flag for the 160th Anniversary of Eureka, Ballaarat Quilters Inc., and Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) are proud to announce the launch of a national quilters’ challenge for 2015. Prizes are on offer to the entrants including a Director’s Choice Award selected by Jane Smith Director of M.A.D.E.

Ballaarat Quilters Inc. is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year by running a quilters’ challenge that will culminate in an exhibition of the quilts at M.A.D.E in Ballarat from 19/11/2015 to 31/1/2016.

The theme of the 2015 challenge is – SONGS OF FREEDOM – CELEBRATING DEMOCRACY’.This theme is based on one of M.A.D.E’s permanent exhibits ‘The Power of Numbers’ which demonstrates the power voices using five different songs of protest. These songs are Nyurra Wurriyn, Freedom Train, Ode to Joy, Lean on Me and Then and Now (a new song commissioned last year by M.A.D.E to commemorate the 160th Anniversary of the Eureka Stockade).

M.A.D.E Director, Jane Smith, said: “The Ballaarat Quilters Inc. were a key group in delivering the re-creation of the Eureka Flag as part of the 160th Anniversary of Eureka. It was a great collaboration and we are looking forward to this year’s project about songs of protest.”

President of the Ballaarat Quilters Inc., Sally Wellard, said: ‘’We are excited to use our 20th anniversary as an opportunity to share our passion for textiles and demonstrate a diversity of ways to explore ideas about democracy.’’

Ballaarat Quilters Inc. have invited visual artist and Eureka Flag Ambassador Fiona Crawford to work with them in realising this project. http://fionajcrawford.wix.com/fiona-crawford-art

Entrants can use traditional or contemporary approaches to design and a variety of textile techniques which reflect and interpret this conceptual theme.

This quilters challenge competition is now open for further details, entry form and copies of thelyrics of five songs, visit the Ballaarat Quilters website (see below).Closing date for submitting entry forms 28th August 2015.

http://ballaaratquilters.com/2015/04/04/quilters-challenge-with-m-a-d-e/

M.A.D.E is one of Australia’s newest museums and commemorates the role of the Eureka Stockade in shaping our nation. It is located on the site of the 1854 Eureka Stockade uprising in Ballarat. M.A.D.E explores both the evolution of democracy and how it has shaped cultures and countries around the world and also looks to its future. Using art installations and immersive, interactive content, M.A.D.E inspires people to contemplate what issues are important to them today.

 

Please visit www.made.org for more information

David Walliams at Sky High!

By Celeste Hawkins

Ok, I simply had one of the best nights for a while last night as I was utterly mesmorised by the exceptionally clever, charming, witty, eccentric comedian and successful children’s book author-David Walliams. He was speaking about his newest book: ‘Awful Auntie’ and other things; wowing the crowd of excited kids and parents who had filled the famous Sky High restaurant-as part of the Stories up High Series-in conjunction with the Wheeler Centre.

Asking questions

David Wallams and Eddie Prefect-answering questions

All this man had to do was squint his eyes and edge toward that familar smile; or put on a deep gruff or old ladies voice and the crowd was instantly hysterical. The last section of the talk involved a number of questions put forth by the youngest members of the crowd: ‘Can you write a story about moody mums?’, was one of them. ‘Can you do ‘Computer says no?’ (a Little Britain Sketch) was another. David obliged thankfully. There were a few questions wondering where he got his ideas. He said that meeting interesting people or even getting ideas from kids-such as the Moody mums question, provided much inspiration. He told us that he had met the Queen, but wasn’t allowed to ask her any questions, so all he said to her was,’thanks for coming’.

David W reading

David reading from ‘Awful Auntie’

And what I love about David is that he can push boundaries and gets away with it completely. One of his influences is the classic Horror movie: ‘The Shining’. He also said that parents had approached him in the past and said that their kids could watch ‘Little Britain’-but had difficulties with the ‘bitty scene’.

David W signing

David Walliams signing books for excited kids!

As far as his literary handiwork-he has been totued as the ‘new Roald Dahl’. He showed great fondness and apprectaion toward working with the great illustrator Quentin Blake-now in his 80’s who most of us are familiar with from Roald Dahl novels.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Mark: Sculptures of Melbourne

By Celeste Hawkins

To publish a book is basically any (serious) bloggers dream. To publish a hardcover with a well known publisher is the ultimate! Anyone who has come across Mark Holsworth’s blog -‘Black Mark’ would agree that he is pretty much Melbourne’s most prolific art blogger. His site is loaded with written commentary, critique and analysis. His specialties are street art and sculpture. This kind of writing is challenging and takes a certain sense of responsibility and Mark isn’t put off by the challenge. It’s been three years since I caught up with Mark to discuss his first book: ‘Sculptures of Melbourne’ –published by Melbourne Books. He was fortunate enough to have a launch at the NGV during the Melbourne book fair and to have it published as a hardcover! It’s a very timely book as so much has happened in Sculpture land. The last few decades have been boom time for Melbourne Sculpture. For example-The Three Businessmen by Alison Weaver and Paul Quinn and the giant purse by Simon Perry in Bourke Street Mall-most Melbournites would have seen. Mark tells me that the three men have to be the most photographed sculptures in Melbourne.

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You have a ‘thing’ for public sculpture- why?

I love public sculpture, especially the interaction between the sculpture and the public. The public either wants or doesn’t want the sculpture and it throws up a whole heap of interesting questions. Also, I find it easier to write about a sculpture exhibition that a painting exhibition purely because I’m a painter. And sculpture is removed from that!

Was there a need for more commentary on Melbourne Sculpture?

After writing a few blog posts-I discovered that there was a real need. And as far as the book-there were no current publications except for one I found from the early 80’s. It was more of a walking tour-it was a historical look at sculpture and kind of old fashioned.

9 CDH, Atlas Intervention, 2011 (MSH)

CDH, Atlas Intervention, Queen Victoria Gardens, 2011, temporary

Starting with your blog-what sort of reactions have you had with your critiquing of Melbourne’s sculptures?

I get a lot of comments as well as reads. The comments are very participatory-people want to engage. Some of the questions are: Have you seen this sculpture? Have you noticed the way that people move around this sculpture and climb on it? There is an academic at RMIT -Quentin Stevens who has recently published a book on public engagement with sculpture-which I would find interesting to do more on. I would like to focus in more detail on how people move around, interact with and use sculpture. I’ve been interested in this for quite a while-but its always nice when someone comes along with academic authority!

7 Candy Stevens, Landscape Gardeners, 2011 (MSH)

Candy Stevens, Landscape Gardeners, near Moreland station, temporary

How involved was the process with getting your book published?

I sent them (Melbourne Books) a sample chapter and outline, which they liked and wanted more- so I sent them the last one. The only requirement they had was that it was to be a photo book. Then, it was just a matter of getting the final chapters together, which took a few months. And knowing that Melbourne Books had published books such as ‘Laneways’, it was pretty daunting as a first book! The cover photo is by another Melbourne blogger-Matto Lucas who did a great job, not giving it the corporate look (like signature bright blue skies) that many of these shots tend to have.

Some of the most notable ones in the book are by Sydney street artist Will Coles and Melbourne artist Junky- with their miniature works, blending in with Marks mutual love for Melbourne Street Art.

I was really excited about these works as I felt that they were able to tell the complete story, as they were public sculpture just as much as the other stuff. So it gets to this point where Melbourne sculpture has really changed-and there was just something totally different about it.

13 Junky Projects, c.2009 (Fitzroy) (MSH)

Junky Projects, c.2009 (Fitzroy)

As a lover of the still life painting-but not the fruit and flower variety, Mark paints when he can. He does still life portraits of people, mostly known to him. He ‘arranges their stuff’ and photographs it, as his starting point for a painting.

How do you manage to write and make art?

The painting is taking a back step for now. At least with oil paintings I can leave things sitting on the easel for months and months. I’m just getting to finish a painting-that I started last year. I basically had to decide which one I was going to focus on the writing or the painting.

That a pretty tough call to make!

Yeah, when I decided it-I was at the point where I had really found my style in painting- thinking I could produce a lot of these in a row!

Mark tells me there are a lot more people painting than writing about art, which makes me think of writing about other peoples’ art as a fairly selfless act, in comparison to painting in many ways at least.

It’s also a lot more appealing to your own personal vanity to paint your own stuff. There are a lot more people painting than writing about art. Whereas with art critiquing, you’re taking a back seat-there is a big difference.

So tell me what’s your view on the Melbourne Art scene- from the beginning, when you started your blog till now?

It’s surviving the financial meltdown reasonably well. And there is enough of a variety of specialist galleries now that provide a range of works-instead of just the traditional gallery. The specialists and the street art scene continue to flourish-many people thought it (street art) would burn out after a few years-but it keeps on developing.

Mark with Phibs by Snyder

Mark with Phibs by Snyder

What about public sculpture-has much changed?

There are the seedpods up at Royal Park, then there’s the upside down tram in the air-and just last year, ‘Courage’ by William Eichlotz in Fitzroy. That was a surprise for me in the way. I didn’t think there was going to continue to be some much permanent sculpture. I thought the advantage of having installations was a much better solution in a lot of ways. But of course there are still many people who want permanent sculptures or memorials. The neo classical style sculptures and memorials still continue-people still want these permanent sculptures within the urban environment, whether it be a freeway or revitalizing an inner city sculpture.

Callum Morton, Hotel, 2008 (15 EastLink)

Callum Morton, Hotel, (Eastlink) 2008

 

Mark tells me more about the public sculpture spreading out from the CBD:

The outer local councils and Eastlink and various freeways are funding some interesting stuff. The freeways out to Geelong have become very interesting for the art alone. It’s spreading out from the centre of the CBD. Then of course, there is the performance art which is growing in popularity -True North festival is seeing a lot going on the streets by Michael Meneghetti. All this stuff is continuing.

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Fiona Foley, Lie of the Land, 1997, Melbourne Museum

Do you think some of these sculptures re locate, as they’re unwanted by the public?

The Yarra River is becoming a bit of a graveyard for moving sculptures. You could just say it’s a change in land usage as people are using it a lot more. And again some of the older statues have been moved around. For example Vault by Ron-Robinson Swan was exiled to ACCA from the city square. There was also ‘Lie of the Land’-by an aboriginal artist Fiona Foley and its now been moved up to the Museums café. Both of those works were very confronting- both of them were students of Anthony Caro.

Mark tells me a bit more about the meanings or social connotations that these sculptures can bring, often to an unknowing public.

When it comes to public sculpture- like anything–there’s tacky, there’s corny, there’s downright right wing (militarist/ controlling) stuff and then there’s more left wing (civil rights/diversity) stuff.

What are some of the examples of sculpture in the left wing category?

‘Courage’ located in Fitzroy-by William Eitholtz-dedicated to an openly gay mayor. Then there are aboriginal public sculptures and memorials to women’s suffrage. There is a work of Pastor Doug who was an aboriginal rights worker-these are balancing out the other ones.

What do you think is lacking in terms of sculpture in Melbourne?

We need more inexpensive and efficient temporary sculpture such as the MoreART festival. The city had their laneways commission for a number of years, which they are no longer doing but there was some really great stuff in those and the public was really responsive. The funny thing about the Laneways commission was that some of it was mistakenly taken as street art so they got to the point where the street artists where saying, ‘Have you seen this cool piece?’ ‘Well… actually it was commissioned by the city of Melbourne.’ The Laneways went from 2001-2011-it was an annual commission. The temporary installations are a way of revitalizing a disused area and getting people to travel in different directions or routes around their local area, giving the artists a lot more freedom to use different materials and the public can interact with them. Contemporary sculpture can be anything from performance art through to conceptual art and even sound art –I’d like Councils doing more of that. I think Moreland and Melbourne city council have really finessed it, which is great.

5 Steaphan Paton, Urban Doolagahl, 2011 (MSH)

Steaphan Paton, Urban Doolagahl,Laneways Commission, temporary, 2011

Where is your blog going to go?

I’m going to continue the way it is. But now of course there is a book to buy which you can pre-order. And of course it would be nice to write another book…