Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Philjames: 'A Moth in a Chandelier' in the Annex space

Philjames, Number 27, Oil on found vintage print, 400 x 300 mm
Next pop-up show in the Damien Minton Annex (583 Elizabeth St, Redfern) is Philjames, 'A Moth in a Chandelier'. Opening 23rd September 6-8 and running until the 24th September only. Read what Archibald Prize winner Guy Maestri says about Philjames' work below:

Philjames's art can be on one hand playful, even childish, and on the other, arresting, disarming, and shocking. In this body of work Philjames has juxtaposed icons of popular culture into sublime and kitsch landscape paintings sourced from opp shops and skip bins. The results range from comical to apocalyptic. But  he is not engaging in an act of destruction, more like a thoughtful readjustment. An offering of a new vision, or version, of the future.  Many of the protagonists in Philjames's paintings include people dressed in super hero suits, dumped in these alien worlds. A seemingly bizarre and incongruous act, these people in a second skin, unnatural in nature. Yet strangely poignant. Philjames is well aware of the world we live in. This is man vs nature in all our clumsy, unnatural glory.

Philjames often bolts these works to public walls, literally offering his art to the people, to be considered by those who may not generally consider art, and to encourage response and interaction. They get tagged, smashed, scarred and often stolen, but these are artworks which weren't Philjames's to begin with. He puts his hand to them, and releases them back into the wild. Some of them survive and are included in this exhibition, as works of anonymous collaboration.

I travelled through China with Philjames. All along the way he would pull out his pen and make "thoughtful adjustments" to signs, posters, graffiti etc. Or just leave small offerings for the hell of it. For example, on a riverboat on the Yangtze river he planted a small pink penis on a print of a manicured, english garden hanging on the wall of our cabin. I like to think it would still be there. Largely unnoticed, offering occasional amusement or bewilderment the unsuspecting traveller. Art for the people!

- Guy Maestri

View a selection of the works on our website

Friday, September 9, 2011

Bilums, bilums, bilums


A fundraising exhibition for the mother and child health clinic of the Paiga community, Eastern Highlands PNG.

TUESDAY 27 SEPT 2011 6-8PM
In the Project Room

Exhibition 27 SEPT – 15 OCT

Statement from organiser, community worker Paul van Reyk:

Take a flight from Port Moresby to the Eastern Highlands Province capital town, Goroka. Get on a PMV (mini-van, truck, ute) and bump head to Okapa on a road, which depending on the rains and how recently anyone's had money or energy to fix it will either be a reasonable gravel road or a series of potholes, wash-aways, and bogs, till you get to Ke Efu (ask the driver or any of the passengers cause it won't be signposted). Then trek for several hours, depending on your fitness and the state of the track, up and up and up then along the ridges through forest and hamlets, spectacular views to both sides of you, to Paigatasa, an area of scattered market gardens and bush material round huts housing 6000 people 2000 metres above sea level.

Like much of remote PNG, this area remains shamefully underserviced in health. Women and children still regularly die during childbirth for lack of access to midwives and hospital beds. Six years ago the community decided to do something about it. They asked Paul van Reyk, an Australian community worker, one of the first ‘white men’ to travel into the area since PNG independence, to help them build a clinic to deliver community mother and child health programs.

Since then, the women have been making bilums for sale to raise funds for the clinic and to supplement the meagre income they get from small coffee plantings. Contact with Western culture, materials and markets, have changed these gathering and market bags from brown bush material open styles to vibrantly coloured synthetic yarn close weave styles that play with the products and signage of their contact and development experiences. From bank logos to religious texts, football colours to mobile phone advertisements, anything and everything is used in these exuberant, individual creations without any hint of irony or embarrassment.
Money raised through sales at the exhibition will go directly 50% to the maker of the billum, and 50% to the mother and child clinic.

More information on Paiga and the project: www.paiga.com.au
See images of the bilums on our facebook page