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Preview Artbank's Latest Exhibit 'Good Neighbours' Before It Opens

A new show embracing fun, family, connection and the rich potential of the artistic community.
By Lucy McNabb
June 22, 2017
By Lucy McNabb
June 22, 2017

in partnership with

In 2015, Artbank partnered with Create NSW on a two-year project that aimed to both acquire new artworks for the collection and increase visibility for NSW artists who identify as living with a disability. Both those goals were met, and something else wonderful happened too. Over the course of the project supported by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Artbank encountered the rich creative relationships forming between the artists and their peers living with and without disabilities. Thus Good Neighbours was born, delivering an exhibition that celebrates the original project and the doors it opened, weaving a narrative through the artworks selected.

Good Neighbours artists and curators left to right: Digby Webster, Miriam Kelly, Wart, Nadia Lolas, Meagan Pelham, Emily Crockford, Matthew Calandra, Greg Sindel, Thom Roberts, Harriet Body, Daniel Mudie Cunningham.

Show curators Daniel Mudie Cunningham and Miriam Kelly are understandably excited to introduce audiences to this undeniably inspiring show that draws from both Artbank's collection and private loans. The works selected directly reflect the relationships formed between artists over the past two years, or simply honour the sense of community among colleagues, mentors and mates. Neither curator could pick five favourite works, so instead they've given us a little taster of what's in store. "Some of our favourite things are in the mix — including colour, dance, pop culture and homages to trashy TV," they say. Continue on to discover what's to come at Good Neighbours, opening June 29.

Nadia Lolas with Ramsay Street.


Artist Nadia Lolas can proudly take credit for inspiring the show title with her drawings of Ramsay Street and its various characters (that's your cue to start singing the Neighbours theme song). Though Ramsay Street shows Lolas predilection to charcoal pen and marker, the artist has recently been drawn towards paint, having picked up painting techniques from fellow artist Laura Jones — a relationship that has also led to a series of collaborative paintings between the pair. Whilst their art explores very different themes (Jones' works in the exhibit explore Australian coral reef degradation), Cunningham and Kelly say the two artists have commonalities, "Both artists have an incredible attention to detail and wonderful eye for colour."

Greg Sindel.


While working at Studio A in Hornsby, Greg Sindel was commissioned to make a graphic novella for Artbank's publication Sturgeon, a work Cunningham and Kelly describe as "wickedly funny." This work then led to the acquisition of two standalone prints from a recent series, which have been included in Good Neighbours. The animator, filmmaker and prolific graphic novelist creates art inspired by a love of gothic and horror schlock films.

Also a passionate storyteller since childhood, Sindel is mentored by comic artist Leigh Rigozzi, and works across a variety of mediums. The last few years have seen him create a ten-minute animation based on his horror comics, publish his first graphic novel and collaborate with Erth art gallery in Marrickville on a puppet incarnation of one of his characters. Cheeky, funny and a little bit gory, Sindel's work appeals to those who like their animation with a sense of humour.

Anthony Mannix: Ero to Mania, 2015. Artbank collection, purchased 2017 as part of the NSW Arts and Disability Partnership, generously supported by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and Create NSW.


Produced largely on paper using inks, oils, watercolour, tea and ballpoint pen, Anthony Mannix darkly humorous art often explores his experiences with mental illness. In Good Neighbours, his art directly responds to his personal experience with schizoaffective disorder and its impact on the way he perceives the world around him. "Works like the Spidercity series and Ero to Mania [included in Good Neighbours], while on the surface appear lyrical, are underpinned by a darker sensibility," say Cunningham and Kelly.

Now based in his home studio in the Blue Mountains, Mannix first began making work as part of a program in the former Callan Park mental health premises. And despite no formal training, the artist has seen his work both on exhibit in Australia and on tour globally as part of the The Museum of Everything — currently on display at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart — plus a 2013 retrospective of his work at the Sydney College of the Arts heralded him as "Australia's most celebrated Outsider Artist."

Rosie Deacon: Bit Fat in Da Back, 2016. Artbank collection, purchased 2017.


Both curators describe themselves as "pretty pumped" for this "zingy" piece by artist Rosie Deacon. The video, Bit Fat in Da Back, will be presented as part of an installation inspired by the overstocked stalls of Paddy's Market — it's also packed with a large amount of kangaroo paraphernalia. Intrigued? Us too. Working in sculpture, video and installation, Deacon's practice draws on aspects of kitsch, folk-art and craft to explore belonging, the absurd and the interaction between humankind and animals.

You may have been introduced to Deacon's material sensibility at the 2015 Sydney Contemporary or with Tutti Fruity Dream Factory at Underbelly Arts that same year — the latter a collaborative project between Deacon, Studio A principle artist Emma Johnston and artist Emily Crockford who also exhibits in Good Neighbours, among others. Deacon has continued to work alongside and collaboratively with Crockford, and both are magnetically drawn to working with texture, bling and "a colour palette that might be described as pure sparkle," describe Cunningham and Kelly. Deacon's colourful, fun-filled contribution to the exhibit seems like the art equivalent of a really great sugar high.

Daniel Kotja: Walking All Over My Friends, 2017. Artbank collection, commissioned 2016 as part of the NSW Arts and Disability Partnership, generously supported by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and Create NSW.


Good Neighbours will see the premiere of artist Daniel Kojta's commissioned digital video, Walking All Over My Friends 2017. Kotja spent a year inviting friends and fellow artists over to his Blue Mountains studio, where he filmed them walking around. Next, he edited his own upper body over their legs — in the process reflecting on the limitations of his physical abilities as a paraplegic. Cunningham and Kelly say the video embodies Kotja's desire to transform public perceptions of disability, adding that the piece "speaks about collaboration and the value of community relationships and support for one another in a different and pretty profound way."

'Good Neighbours' at Artbank runs from June 29 to October 6, featuring work by Liam Benson, Harriet Body, Matthew Calandra, David Capra, Emily Crockford, Rosie Deacon, John A Douglas, Peter Dudding, Laura Jones, Stefan Kater, Daniel Kojta, Nadia Lolas, Anthony Mannix, Meagan Pelham, Thom Roberts, Thom and Angelmouse, Greg Sindel, Wart, Digby Webster and Paul Williams.

Images: Jesse Jaco and supplied.

Published on June 22, 2017 by Lucy McNabb
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