3 May 2010


I received an email recently informing me of the upcoming SafARI exhibition, which is being held across four ARIs (Artist-Run Initiatives) in Sydney from 5 to 30 May (Firstdraft, Locksmith, MOP, Serial Space). The exhibition is "an 'unofficial' fringe event to the Biennale of Sydney," which opens 12 May to much fanfare.

SafARI, on the other hand, "aims to generate an increased awareness of emerging and unrepresented artists," and admits it "unabashedly seeks to ride the Biennale slipstream." This "ride" is not merely opportunism, but an essential aspect in promoting the vitality of the grassroots arts sector, both in the way it fosters new work and emerging practitioners, and in the fact it challenges curatorial, spacial and temporal art-world conventions. SafARI necessarily does this from within the system, and acknowledges this fact. We all have to work, and I really believe in order to challenge we must needs use the system, this is our best tool. It is how things can be questioned and changed. And, in the words of Woody Allen and countless others: "whatever works."Regarding work, SafARI will show that of Nils Crompton, Will French (above), Leahlani Johnson, Sue-Ching Lascelles, Jason Sims and Chris Town, among others (the artists of "tomorrow", according to the website). I was particularly struck by a work (below) by Tom Polo, who I now realise I'd seen exhibited at a commercial gallery, Grant Pirrie, last year. You can see more of his stuff on his blog: tompoloart.blogspot.com.

Wise words, I say.


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