Sammy the dragon was awoken once again for the Shinju Matsuri festival in Broome. That critter really shakes it. A colourful beast that loves drums and gongs. A creature made of many parts and revered for centuries due to the idea that dragons can swim, fly, walk and dance! Impressive I must say and the Broome mob just love Sammy.
We saw an unusual musical gig - Five very different musicians playing together in the remote town of Broome. Aboriginal singer Olive Knight / Kankawa Nagarra from Wangkatjungka, local broome legend Stephen Pigram, (guitar and vocals) Esfandiar Shahmir from Iran, (percussion mostly on the Daf drum) Tristen Parr,(cello) and Tos Mahoney (flute) A musical and cultural globalization jam floating about the charming historical open air sun pictures cinema. Then I went back into the studio.
Two large national works on paper exhibitions are soon to be held and lucky me to be included in both shows. The Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery national works on paper prize and the Paul Guest drawing show at the Bendigo Gallery in Victoria will soon be displaying in total over 100 contemporary works by Australian artists. I sadly wont be able to get to either show but that may be the case for everyone due to COVID19. The world is still very busy attempting to control this virus and it seems like it wont just lie down and die in a hurry. It is a global battle so will not be easy.
Two other art events have lured me to participate in. The Broome Shinju Art awards here in West Australia and the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair (online edition) via Tim Klingender Fine Art. A little background on each piece.
My Shinju entry - which landed me the prize of best mixed media work. www.shortstgallery.com.au/artists/75-stephen-eastaugh/works/
CLOSELY REMOTE REGION WITH BLACK HOLES
2020 85 cm x 180 cm Acrylic, cotton, wool, assorted fabric and threads, Belgian linen.
Created in a tin shed over five humid months this over-heated landscape hints at assorted Kimberley terrains and much further afield. Broome is referred to as a remote region but it is close to me even if I almost melted into a multi-coloured, multi-cultural puddle in my 40C studio.
Sydney Contemporary Art Fair - www.timklingender.com
LOST AIRFARER SIGHTSEEING
2020. 70 x 93. Cm. Approx. Acrylic, cotton, wool, canvas, assorted fabric and threads, Belgian linen.
It is possible to get lost wherever you are. To be lost physically or lost mentally is usually a bad feeling but not always. Sometimes things are surprisingly discovered when one is out of their normal terrain. I have been personally out of my terrain for decades.
Seafarers are those who work or travel by the sea so an Airfarer must be somebody who works or travels by air. Air travel has been rather easy and normal for a large number of lucky people for some time now but this has recently changed.
When one did jump on a plane it was normally all about the destination and the transport mode used was simply a long metal tube that zoomed through the sky and rapidly took you from A to B. Those little digital maps displaying what lands or seas you were flying above were informative but really you had no idea about your exact location except that outside you could see some pretty cumulus clouds looking like marshmallows. Such views meant that you were about ten kilometres high and moving very fast. You often nibbled on salty nuts as you watched a classic romantic, action, sci-fi, musical, horror, thriller movie which screened directly in front of you. You continued your sightseeing out the tiny porthole. You were an Airfarer pleasantly lost but on your way.
Paul Guest Drawing show - (details). www.bendigoregion.com.au/bendigo-art-gallery
ID / SOMEWAYS SEARCHING SOMEWHERE TO SOMEHOW SEE SOMETHING OR SOMEONE FOR SOMETIME
2020. Work on paper series.
12.5 cm x 17.5 cm each. x 42 works Acrylic, ink, cotton, wool, fake earth, wax pencil, water colour on 84 used Australian passport pages.
ID = Identification. Any official document with your name and photograph or other information on it that you use to prove who you are.
ID = In psychoanalysis the ID is the deepest part of the unconscious mind that represents the most innate human needs and emotions such as hunger, joy, lust and anger.
This collection of documents documents a portion of my physical and conceptual passage of mostly safe conduct between the years 1982 and 2016. Eighty-four pages of expired Australian passports have been torn from the history of my extensive wander-lusting across seven continents and many oceans. A stray psycho-geographical flavour is found in this ID series as it playfully meanders over imagined and administered landscapes both urban and extremely remote in order to locate new vantage points.
I construct a visual travelogue with the visas, stamps, scribbles, dates and signatures of officialdom alongside my own organic vistas, marks, stitches, stains and attachments. A panoramic work connecting each scene via a single undulating horizon line which suggests a constant and steady drifting across longitudes and latitudes. Pages peppered with bureaucratic ink, topographical lumps, waves, clouds, pools, rocky terrains and a babble of foreign languages all paving the way to elsewhere.
An elongated wondering title, textured hills, watermarks, miniature but expansive views, human scribbles, exotic symbols and decades of my registered global pilgrimage clearly display an unsettled and unrelenting desire for travel. Humans have a basic need to move and that fact I have passionately embraced. I am hard-wired with a lust for a journey. All I need is a passport.
Passports are basically identification papers based on an ancient British document issued way back in 1414 so for over five hundred years fancy inscribed paper sheets have been in the luggage of lucky travellers. After the first world war the little blue, green or red passport booklet that we all recognise began to be used by anyone legally travelling internationally. I have managed to fill many passport pages with data and assorted official marks that have enabled me to cross hundreds of borders, to state where I have been and to prove that I am who I am.
These sheets of formal abstracted paperwork combined with my own informal physical legwork has made searching somewhere someway somehow to see something or someone for sometime very real, often surprising and the views have always been somewhat worthwhile.
MPRG. National works on paper exhibition. www.mprg.mornpen.vic.gov.au/EXHIBITIONS/Future-exhibitions/2020-National-Works-on-Paper
2019. 26.5 cm x 36cm each. (Triptych) Acrylic, wax pencil, water colour. maritime charts.
I spent time drawing in a remote artist’s retreat in Ireland during 2019 where I luckily managed to visit a strange rocky island off the coast called Skellig Michael. Between the 6th and 8th centuries a monastic settlement operated on the tiny Island which is now a UNESCO world heritage site. It was a wild, spooky and mesmerizing location rising abruptly from the North Atlantic Ocean that seemed to me like it was begging to be somehow depicted on the maritime charts I had collected from a recent voyage on a cargo container ship in the Indian Ocean. Who knows why.
I am stimulated by landscape, travel and the human condition. I respond to the inseparable human experiences of existence and movement. Both I see as mysterious, fascinating and worthwhile investigating. In this triptych I use cartography, texture and dislocation to help myself navigate some of the tricky bits of life.
Now its time to make a large studio room inside the shed with a display wall from freezer panels and then stick an aircon unit to cool the working space down over the Wet season. We have engaged Mr Buddha to do the major parts of the renovation and upgrade job while we shall be involved in a great amount of moving stuff, sorting, discarding, cleaning, fixing, replacing and planning. We do need a bit of comfort and a bit of clean working space. Those bits I often forget about as I row through my life on an intense and messy mission that is really just too ridiculous to make much sense.