James Fardoulys (1900-1975) arrived in Australia from Kythera, Greece in 1914, and criss-crossed outback Queensland and NSW with his ventriloquist wife and vaudeville troupe in the 1920s. Taking up painting after he retired from taxi driving in 1960, on a South Brisbane verandah he conjured Australian outback and colonial scenes. He mixed memories with whimsy, history with fantasy, and quickly established himself as one of Australia’s foremost naïve painters.
In a kitchen in Athens in 2016, Dean Manning (1964-) mixed traditional Greek pigments to etch out fragments of Athenian life: portraits of rembetiko singers from the 1920s, graffiti and street protests, smoke and conversation in cafes, refugees arriving in Onassis’ port, Ariadne’s thread and the Minotaur. His paintings and video animation find their way beneath the surface of his father’s homeland. Like Fardoulys, Manning is part of the Greek diaspora and a self-taught painter, arriving at painting through his music.
The Air is Free brings together Manning’s imagined Greece with Fardoulys’ imagined Australia. Curated by Catherine Benz
Exhibition dates: 3 – 31 July, 2016
Opening function: Sunday 3 July, 2-4pm