Survivor

I felt honoured to be asked by Gallery Services in Townsville to photograph Dadang Christanto's amazing performance art work "Survivor". It was an incredible experience watching the volunteers stand virtually motionless for two hours. My images were then printed and displayed on the walls of Pinnacles Gallery.

Survivor is a major performance piece by Dadang Christanto, which had its Australian premier in Sydney at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (4A). The work illustrates the impact of human disaster, with particular reference to the tragic man-made mud catastrophe in the Sidoarjo region of East Java. Volunteers silently occupy the gallery space, covered in mud from the neck down whilst holding photographic portraits of individuals who disappeared as a result of the disaster.

In 2006, hot volcanic mud started erupting from the site of a gas exploration well. To date, 11 villages in East Java have been effectively wiped out. Christanto's interest in this disaster relates to his previous work about his father's disappearance during the Suharto regime in the mid-1960s. In the context of the mud disaster, the unrelenting build up of mud in the region is slowly consuming surrounding villages. As 4A's Director, Aaron Seeto, explains, "The entire history of a village - its livelihood and future is being buried under the mud. While Christanto's work is politically confronting, it is also a poetic experience that reminds us of human fragility and erasure in the face of disaster."

Dadang Christanto was born in 1957 in Tegal, Central Java and studied painting in Yogyakarta. Over the past decade his work has gained recognition across Australia with solo exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Sherman Galleries in Sydney, and at the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory. Christanto has been included in two Asia-Pacific Triennials at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane and exhibited in key contemporary Asian art museums in the Asian region in Fukuoka Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Kwangju Biennale (2000), and the Venice Biennale (2003). In 1997, in recognition of his long-term artistic achievement, he was a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

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Looking Up

Time for a change of pace with my trusty tripod, wide angle lens and a sore neck. Perfect conditions today to try for some "cloud blurs" with 50/50 mix of blue + clouds and a bit of wind. All these buildings apart from the jetty are within 10 minutes walk from my studio in Townsville and a couple are newly completed additions to the local skyline. Townsville Architecture PhotographyTownsville Architecture PhotographyTownsville Architecture PhotographyTownsville Architecture PhotographyTownsville Architecture PhotographyTownsville Architecture PhotographyTownsville Architecture Photography

Awards

I've picked up a couple of nice awards recently with two Silvers at the Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA's) and best image from the recently held Strand Ephemera outdoor sculpture exhibition. Thanks to Stephen Lane and Katrina Logan for letting me throw green paint at them in my studio. I don't often enter awards but I must say its nice to receive some recognition and its given me a boost to have a crack at the awards again next year. portraitportrait

Strand Ephemera Exhibition