– Highlights


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean

01 Nov - 18 Feb


Jon Campbell: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 25 Feb


Word: MCA Collection

04 Dec - 18 Feb

– Learning Events


Contemporary Kids School Holiday Program

23 Jan, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning


Pipilotti Rist: Sip my Ocean [Unplugged]

23 Jan, 6.00pm, Level 3: Galleries


Spoken Word Series

03 Feb, 1.00am, Throughout the MCA

– News from inside the MCA

The Importance of Laughter

We sat down with laughter connoisseur Shari Coventry from Sydney Laughter to discover the truth about laughter and why we need it ahead of this month’s Laughter Sessions. more

Coming up in 2018…

Next year is one of the most exciting and diverse seasons yet. Find out what’s on. more

Six Films that Changed My Life (for better or worse): Antenna's Rich Welch

To pave the way for the soon-to-come cinema binge at Antenna Film Festival,Co-Director Rich Welch shared a few of his life changing films. more

– Spotlights from the collection online

MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Blog – MCA ARTBAR Yal Kuna (My Mates) = Blessed

Posted on Aug. 18, 2016 by Bella Szukilojc

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.

Tell us why you have named your ARTBAR Yal Kuna (My Mates) = Blessed

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.

Your work is quite arresting and you use comic strategies to shake-up conventional representations of race, gender and sexuality. Do you find using satire is an effective way of communicating these topics?

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.

Your ARTBAR will be about friendship and exchange, do you feel like there is enough exchange and collaboration within Australia’s art scene?

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.

You are gathering your art family, who you have borrowed at times during your practice, who have you included in the line-up?

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.

Describe your ARTBAR in three words

Arts/Culture. Politics. Family.

Who was the first person you called your best friend?

His name was Chayne Whiting. And I miss him. We all had cool names back then.

Any song requests for the ARTBAR DJs?

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. ;)

Finally, add your own ending:

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

Website ebridgeman@wordpress.com
Instagram @yuriyalton
Get tickets to MCA ARTBAR curated by Eric Bridgeman here. Friday 26 August, 7–11pm

Join the Facebook event here.

Eric Bridgeman, Muka Big Boy Alai, 2008

Eric Bridgeman, Muka Big Boy Alai from the series The Sport and Fair Play of Aussie Rules, 2008/09, image courtesy and © the artist

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Bella Szukilojc
– Marketing Assistant

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.

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