New work by Antonio Filipo, Leilani Kake, Sean Kerrigan, Mele Penitani, Genevieve Pini and Siliga David Setoga at Fresh Gallery Otara | November 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
H.M.S. Affirmative Action
Yesterday I went and visited Ema down at Fresh and explained what the submarine thing is all about for me. Two things are valid about using the submarine and the first and most important, for me as an artist, is that I've been on this binge making models, you know, the type that 14 year old boys make and hang off the ceiling. I have, in the past, painted them up in cultural designs, so that in the context of themselves we're taking about the justaposition between supposedly defined cultural "islands" and the idea of mass culture.
So the most recent model buying I've done was a humongous (in model terms) submarine simply because I like the shape of these things... and it offers quite a good canvas to paint on.
So the move into "meat and lollies" needed to be aligned with what I was already up to and it was no jump at all to take the idea of submarines and develop a content suitable to the new context.
Life imitates Art? or is it Art imitates Life? I don't know or care but I find it interesting how I'm able to find meaning in my direction before meaning is even applied to my direction. So the submarine idea appeared simply because it was already there and all I had to do was give it a relationship within the context of "meat and lollies" and that was the easy part because all I did was dredge up stuff I've always been aware of.
H.M.S. Affirmative Action
I've grown up with this particular idea at work around me and I must say that it really isn't a good one. One may think, being a recipient of positive discrimination, that such things are merry and good but to be brought forward and given chances simply because of something, in the grand scheme of things, so arbitrary as skin colour, and not because of ability or passion, or at least not as the defining characteristic, is , simply put, a way to destroy talent as opposed to creating it.
The meat of creative enterprise is resistance and work. Having to work against odds and realise your work is your own truth. A truth you have to stand beside and possibly accept ridicule about. You must hunt the quarry, look deep into yourself and set your trap or sharpen the spear of your intellect. And when you have killed your truth you must haul it home on your back and rend it into truth that will sustain you. Blood flows and the gore of unguarded life is all around you. How can one but help to find the truth of their existence within such circumstances.
Lollies are sweets. Oh, haven't you done well and here is your reward. You make us happy so we praise you with the sweetness of our approval. But lollies are also incentive. Please do more pleasing work! In this regard lollies are also a truth, of course they are truth, all is truth but the question is... to what truth do we align ourselves? To the meat that ensures survival or to the lollies that say we are already surviving and its time to celebrate.