Archive | July 2018

By the time they opened the first Museum of Rap in Fatehpur Sikri no-one could taste, smell, feel, hear or remember it anyway

Cameron Hayes
By the Time They Opened the First Museum of Rap in Fatehpur Sikri No-One Could Taste, Smell, Feel, Hear or Remember It Anyway, 2006
oil on linen
66 x 100 inches
Photo: Hermann Feldhaus
Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

By the time they opened the first Museum of Rap in Fatehpur Sikri no-one could taste, smell, feel, hear or remember it anyway

Fatehpur Sikri was a city built by a Mogul king to be a perfect city; but it was on high ground and not near any lakes or rivers, so no-one ever lived there because there was no water. In 2004, the National Bank of India opened the first Museum of Rap there.

All the stars from television, film, and music were expected to arrive in cabs and step out of a painting or a limousine onto a red-carpet conveyor belt. The stars then had fifteen minutes to line up behind and then have their photos taken in a wooden picture of Beyonce Knowles, Justin Timberlake, Tupac, or the cat from Friends. Many stubborn stars refused to take their heads out of their image and stumbled around until they accidentally hanged themselves in the wood.

Outside the Museum of Rap, many entertainers have come to cash in on all the hype. Ten-year-old girls have brought their dancing bears dressed as Madonna, Brittany, and Run DMC. A dance school has opened next door for girls to train their bears using only bells, knives, and scissors. Another entertainer painted many different species of animals with black and yellow stripes, and people pay to see them raped by a real tiger.

Not-so-famous rap stars have brought their own spotlights, and have tied capes to small animals, and are dropping them from scaffolds.

Because the way everyone and everything looked was all important, people lost their sense of smell and needed dogs to smell if food had expired, and homeless people carried bees in glass jars to check if their bodies were decaying badly enough to worry about.

As people’s sight strengthened they lost more and more memory, so musicians were able to do cover versions of hits while they were still on the charts. And many sitcoms were able to use the scripts from other sitcoms the day before.

The empty water pipes of Fatehpur Sikri were used to circulate the same three or four scripts through all the TV studios and hopes of the people.

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MELBOURNE ART FAIR – REVIEW, by Tasneem Chopra, July 2018

REVIEW, by Tasneem Chopra, July 2018

 

ARTIST: Cameron Hayes

AUSTRALIA: A History of Terrogees

 

Hayes contemporary analysis of Australia’s political landscape, makes no apology for a culture entrenched in xenophobia. The satirical jabs at white privilege and entitlement stemming from the fragility of a white settler colonial mindset, manifest in his works, particularly, The End of the Moomba Parade, Terrorists in a Cake Shop and What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists, 2009-2011.

 

Each piece examines an event in Australia’s recent history or demographic make-up, highlighting the revulsion shown for migrants matched only by an unwitting dependence on their economic value. The contradiction and conflict of this dependence, renders the morality of the powerful as inherently self-serving.  The assertion that Aboriginals, African, Asian and Muslim Australians, for example can only be of worth if at all, when they ascribe to the parameters set for them by the State, is inferred repeatedly. And when these communities fail to abide the standards of a well behaved minority, they instantly become demonized – the folk devil we have to have.

 

Themes of racism, Islamophobia, exploitation, ostracizing, greed, deceit, corruption and collective delusion of both the elite and inept strata’s of society, permeate Hayes artworks in varied degrees. The intricacy and detail of his paintings provide a layered analysis that probe beyond the banal ugliness of socio-political obfuscation. That is, when you delve further, the messaging is clear; no amount of political clout and media distortion give legitimacy to abuse of power. The ripples of humanity in silenced voices and diligent work ethic of the migrant and refugee ‘other’, loom clear in the background – representing the beating heart that keeps this nation moving, despite the relentless malfeasance.

 

The colloquial conflation of Muslim-with-Islam-with –refugee-with-terrorist, proposing all labels equate with the same cultural bogeyman as an endpoint, allows for a powerful artistic take down by Hayes of this tired trope of Australian minorities.

 

Hayes’ work is vibrant, provocative and formidable. As a viewer you cannot help but be absorbed by the brilliant colours and intricate detail that draw you into this satirical quagmire.  The art makes bold assertions about Australia’s political culture that doesn’t just question the integrity of our migration policy, but expose the racist undercurrent of a system centred on racial profiling. Further, he reveals the dehumanising of Indigenous Australians whose existence it seems, pivots on either their entertainment value, or, burden to the State. In all, Hayes’ brilliantly encapsulates the myopia of white saviour/master/supremacy ideology, masquerading as conservative political dogma in the name of patriotism.

 

 

 

Review by : Tasneem Chopra, Cross Cultural Consultant, former Curator at  Islamic Museum of Australia and the Immigration Museum, Melbourne

Orphanages make the best skyscrapers

Cameron Hayes
Orphanages Make the Best Skyscrapers, 2011
Oil on linen
78 x 100 inches
Photo: Bill Orcutt
Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Orphanages make the best skyscrapers, 2011

Orphans make up the best corporations because so many of the people who work in them, especially investment bankers, lawyers, and management consultants, need to win the approval of older men in suits. The more neglected a child is, especially as a boy by his father, the harder he will work as an adult for the corporation.
The rise of conservatism in the working population is a direct result of the increase of absent and negligent fathers.
The Human Resource departments of big companies see a generation of needy workers unconsciously drawn to being patted on the head by rich old white men in suits. HR departments know these people will take work home, work for unpaid overtime, eat lunch at their desk, and adopt the goals and values of the corporation as their own.
Without fathers, these workers still live in the wish fulfilled fantasy world which they and their mothers created. They expect everyone else to know intuitively what they want and how they feel. They believe in blowing out candles, gambling, and throwing money in wishing wells. They pray in front of gym equipment as orphans pray in front of phones that don’t ring for them, empty letterboxes, and taxis that never return their fathers.

In these skyscrapers the elevators only go up. Not to strive to the top through work is to freefall to the bottom. Many workers carry their chalk drawings in their brief cases, and many psychiatrists are sent straight to the top of the skyscrapers to wait for the most successful workers.