‘Carnival of the Once Loved’ is a story about abandoned items and the people who reclaim them. Before starting this work I put out the call for photos and a brief description of items people recovered from council collection piles. The items and stories were collated and preserved as paintings which were then turned into a mobile of icons as a symbol of gratitude; gratitude for those who can see past a rough exterior and only see potential, love of optimists with the time to restore furniture & relief that one less item is headed for landfill. The response was swift & confident – 21 people sent multiple photos of items they’d collected often breathing new life into the seemingly unwanted.
Each item them became the star of the own iconographic painting, delivered in the style of Mexican and Spanish ‘Ex-votos’ (devotional paintings).
The icons are framed in circles if discarded tin (found in hard rubbish) and as a whole, each circle contributes to a larger circular shape. The circular format relates to community and being a component of a larger community, about connection and belonging.
The image shows the photos that were sent to me, thank you so much to everyone who contributed – Bec, Carolyn, Eleanor, Eva & Tissy, Ewan, Gemma, Helen, Kate B, Kate F, Kirsty, Maria, Nick, Penny, Philippa, Ramona, Renee, Tiffany, Vikki & Yuki.
This work will be on display at Testing Grounds from 4th-24th of May, 2018.
“‘Carnival of the Once Loved’ is a collection of small paintings of beloved items originally found in hard rubbish (council collections). In a time of indiscriminate consumption and unreliable recycling paths, the simple act of saving an useful item from landfill seems like an important political act.
These stories were gathered by word-of-mouth and online, each contributor being asked to send an image, the location and year in which it was sourced and a few lines about their found treasure. The result is an assembly of icons – 34 paintings reminiscent of ‘ex-voto’ offerings of gratitude, popular in Mexico, Spain and France. In historical votive paintings, images of religious events give thanks for a miracle or favour, in this work, the miracle is that in a society with access to so much new, cheaply made product, why anyone takes the time to restore old furniture. In keeping with theme of rejuvenation, the material used in this work was also found in hard rubbish – offcuts of a pressed tin ceiling that were on a nature-strip in Northcote. ‘Carnival of the Once Loved’ will be suspended from the Superstructure (outdoors) of Testing Grounds.”