For this month’s MCA ARTBAR, Brisbane-based artist Eric Bridgeman gathers his art family who he has borrowed at various times throughout his practice and gives them the stage. Ahead of the night we sit down and talk Yal Kuna, PJ Harvey, first best friends and collaboration in Australia’s art world.
I first decided to title the show simply ‘Yal Kuna’ which in my language back home in PNG means ‘Mate, mates, or my mate”. I chose the artists to contribute based on my friends/mate list – people whom I have worked, collaborated with or simply been good friends with since the start of my art career. These are my mates, some of them. Some are male and some are female, and they do a variety of things. Most of all they have inspired me since the beginning. The term blessed refers to that feeling of solidarity that everything is going to be OK.
I’m not sure if I use satire at best, I like to think that I use a common visual language but with a twisted neck. Maybe that IS satire, i’m not ever too sure. I don’t know if it is effective way of communicating, but I do know that it brings people together, like my mates, we are joined together by this language soup.
I see it that we all try to help our friends get off to a good start and on the right foot. My friends have mostly be in or engaged with my work – performance, photography, video, sculpture – in a way that they have their DNA laced in my work. I decided with this Art Bar to give them the stage this time. Pay it forward. My friends are my scene; otherwise I operate between the suburbs of Brisbane and the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. It works for me.
Some contributors to my work have remained anonymous, and some are quite proud members of the crew. Here are a few mentions:
Willy Bernardoff is a video animator and GIF master – I went to art school with him at QCA and he appears as a few characters in my work over the years – Wilma, Bernie, Wilma Jr. (Blackie).
David Creed has been a constant contributor to my work and my life so far. He will be presenting his new video blog series titled DC Style Fylez, a fashion oriented blog with amazing results.
Sam Sharman has appeared in many of my videos and performance works – Muka Lobsterdile Hunter, Muka ‘Big Boi’ Alai, and Sharman with Bilum.
William Yang has been a friend of mine since 2009. He began photographic me in various states of wellness and unwellness to say the least. I like playing with William. I took his official 70th Birthday portrait where he wore my fabulous red ninja jacket. He’s a buddy.
Rosanna Raymond and I collaborated for the APT 8 at GOMA last year for her project ‘SaVAge K’lub’. She has become a sort of mother to me in the arts. Very wise, majestic and a healer. Watch her Inaugural Savage Klub meetings at Campbeltown Arts Centre here.
Aaron Burton is a film maker. He’s like a brother to me. As they all mostly are.
Arts/Culture. Politics. Family.
His name was Chayne Whiting. And I miss him. We all had cool names back then.
I need to hear some classic PJ Harvey if I am going to have a GOOD night. Start with the twist and shout, then shake on it. ;)
You don’t make friends with assholes
A friend with a spare smoke is a friend indeed
A man’s best friend is his Yal Kuna
Keep your friends close, keep your eyes open, your ears out and your nose closer
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Joining the MCA team in 2014, Bella helps communicate the Museums brand, exhibitions, programs and events. She likes to draw and is a Nick Cave enthusiast, book lover, avid ocean swimmer and gig-goer. Last meal on earth: parmesan cheese accompanied by a selection of pasta.