Sydney artist David Griggs creates paintings that explore the darker undercurrents of human existence. For an exhibition of new work in the Level two contemporary project space at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Exchanging Culture for Flesh, Griggs presents a series of paintings in a constructed environment of fences and camouflage. His works are vibrant and mischievous, and suggest that something is out of kilter - the worlds they represent are strangely cogent in an attempt to make sense of the uncertain times in which we live.
Griggs has travelled extensively, making contact with communities that are facing repression, and who are witnessing the fabric of their societies being stripped of their cultural character due to increasing external forces. After being awarded a 2003 Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship, Griggs ventured to Mae Sot, a town on the border of Thailand and Burma. The town is in close proximity to three Burmese refugee camps policed by the Thai military that have detained Burmese exiles since the 1988 student uprising in Rangoon. The artist drew inspiration from younger people in the camps who were having their creativity quashed by Thai authorities. They reacted by investigating alternative ways to express themselves and to engage in protest. Their stories formed the basis of Griggs' exhibition Destination Disaster, held at Gerturde Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, in 2004.
David Griggs was born in a Lockheed Hercules somewhere above the north coast of Australia in 1975. At the age of 18 he worked for an underground newspaper, photographing poverty in North India and Nepal. In 1996, while travelling in China, he had a near death experience and has since devoted his life to producing paintings that explore the darker sides of humanity. Griggs has exhibited extensively around Australia and has recently held his first international solo exhibition The Buko Police at Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila, 2005.
Artist Talk - Wednesday 8 March at 5.30pm in the exhibition