The Fight by Eric Bridgeman

When I was in Sydney in August I happened to stumble across the exhibition Last Words (Phase 1 : 16 July-28 August 2010) at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. The exhibition featured Eric Bridgeman, an Australian/Papua New Guinean artist.

Last Words is a curated two-part exhibition of works that tackles issues of communication, memory and history. These artists articulate that it is no longer straight forward to answer questions such as who are you? where are you from? how do you fit in? Our ideas and experiences of place and locality are increasingly defined by the intersection of local, national and global references – colliding histories, traditions and politics are what define our contemporary experiences.

Last Words explores language, knowledge and communication in an age of cultural diversity and globalisation. We have entered a period where traditional forms of identification are neither consistent or certain. Last Words highlights the need to find new ways of thinking and talking about culture.

Extract from Last Words Exhibition Brochure.

The exhibition space at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is small, so when I walked into the exhibition I was immediately drawn  to the screening of The Fight as it sat all alone in the far end corner in darkness.

The video was projected onto tarpaulin that had been painted.
Detail of video still from The Fight 2010 by Eric Bridgeman

The Fight (2010) is one of Eric Bridgeman’s recent video works, and was developed from a recent trip to his mother’s village in Papua New Guinea. As an artist with both Anglo-Australian and Papua New Guinean heritage, Bridgeman has become increasingly interested in returning to his family’s country in order to better understand his own history and culture. Growing up in Australia, Bridgeman states that he became interested in his cultural heritage through coffee table books, ethnographic photography, National Geographic Magazines as well as the gifts sent down from family in PNG. Bridgeman acknowledges that his recent photographic and video work results from the complicated relationship he has as a consumer of these genres of image making and photography. On this research trip he became aware of the great differences between the lived experience of his family in the Highlands compared to the cultural “shows” put on for passing tourists. For these reasons he found taking photographs and video difficult, becoming aware of his own “whiteness”. Bridgeman understood that during his research and travel through PNG he was as much a consumer of these potentially exploitative forms of image making, as he was its subject. The Fight carefully makes these contrasts visible. There are moments that this film has the feeling of a documentary, the realisation that The Fight is a mock fight that was presented especially for their wantok artist armed with a video camera, makes for a less straightforward relationship between the artist, camera and subject.

Extract from Last Words Exhibition Brochure.

Details of video still from The Fight 2010 by Eric Bridgeman

For most part of the video, it felt like a documentary and I felt disconnected from it…until there was a screen shot of a young boy who looked up at the camera and had this grin in his eyes. I know that look, that grin – it was familiar and personal and aimed at the person behind the video camera and not us the viewers. At that moment I felt the connection between the artists and the fighters in this mock fight.

Imma going hunting in Bondi

I missed out on this beautiful cotton black and white pattern dress on eBay yesterday!

Image via eBay

The seller bought it from the Bondi Markets. I should be heading to Sydney this week and I am going to hunt down whoever sells this dress! I’ve seen a similar pattern on my cousin’s friend on Facebook and she said she bought it in Bondi – yes, I have no shame and asked her where she got it from ;P

The dress can still be seen here on eBay.

Image via eBay

 

 

Interactions @ Body Pasifica

Five Pacific Artists: Niwhai Tupaea, Sione Falemaka, Frank Puletua, Greg Semu and Latai Taumoepeau were asked by Leo Tanoi to select items from the Australian Museum’s Pacific Collection for display at Casula Powerhouse Arts Center exhibition – Body Pacifica.

The Body Pacifica exhibition also displayed works by the above artists which were made as a response to their interactions within the Australian Museum’s collection. The Australian Museum has on their website interviews with the artists. The interviews were produced by Finton Mahony and documents the intangible nature of the objects from the Australian Museum’s collection,  the contemporary arts practice of the artists and the philosophy of contemporary pacific arts practice.

I went around to each drawer and kind of like stuck my hand around each piece, so I sort of made myself feel what energy comes out of this and so it kind of called to me. To tell you the truth it’s my hands that talk, like I collect the pieces, I go out and collect the resources of the materials. I lay them out – I don’t actually have an idea where it is going to sit. So my hands actually speak with the objects and I start weaving. It goes into – it’s almost like I go into a trance when I weave. Niwhai Tupaea

Still from interview with Niwhai Tupaea via Australian Museum

I’ve been weaving and beading because when I was born I think I was born with pandanas plant in my feet or in my hands, so I’ve always learned to weave from an early age. Sione Falemaka

Still from interview with Sione Falemaka via Australian Museum

The spirit’s been removed from these artefacts, so I’m looking at recreating colonial history and just re-evaluating it from today. I’m not trying to say who was wrong or right, I’m just saying let’s look at it today from contemporary eyes and from contemporary minds. Greg Semu

Still from interview with Greg Semu via Australian Museum

The whole purpose of the exhibition, from what I’ve seen, is to you know reconnect ourselves… I felt a bit of a detachment from my heritage and doing this has reconnected me and just added a bit of knowledge from where my parents are from and where my grandparents are from and where my whole family obviously come from. Frank Puletua

Still from interview with Frank Puletua via Australian Museum

 

Still from interview with Latai Taumopeau via Australian Museum

Latai Taumopeau speaks about a Ngatu – a traditional bark cloth from Tonga – which she referenced in a performance work. Taumopeau’s performance can be seen here.

 

Interview with  Body Pacifica curator, Leo Tanoi. Video by Kalo Fainu

Wish list #2

Hand drawn geometric illustration notebooks  printed with eco-friendly soy based inks onto a chipboard cover.

8 Notebooks /geometric by Pawling

 

Screen printed with water-based ink products from Sorram

Labyrinth pillow cover black by Sorram

and

Labyrinth canvas tote bag by Sorram

 

Delicate vintage brass chain and ten parallel vintage brass triangle shaped charms

Scale necklace by Laura Lombardi

Danish Inspired Christmas trees with a hint of Oceania

I’m loving these Christmas trees! Four design graduate students from the Corcoran College of Art + Design reinterpreted Danish design icons by putting an inventive spin on the classic icon of the season – the Christmas tree. The exhibition is part of the fifth year of Creative Christmas for the The Royal Embassy of Denmark in Washington DC (USA).

The exhibit explores the inspiration from classic Danish modern design from the 50s and 60s. Given the task of reinterpreting the classic Christmas tree with a Danish modern twist, design students used fiber glass, metal, plastic, and wood materials to merge the traditions of the holiday with the design era.

This one’s my favorite! I’m so going to try and recreate this one next year.

 

Source and Images: Apartment Therapy

Wish list #1

Block printed pillows

Jama Bolster by John Robshaw via Burkedecor

 

Textured woven basket and bamboo cases for iPhone4

Basket Weave and Basket Case via Zazzle

 

Half moon shapes hand cut from brass sheet and attached in descending order  – the pieces are joined in the center to give the necklace movement.

Many moons necklace by brooklynsouljewelry