David Griggs produced a raw mix of drawing, sculpture and wall painting for Destination Disaster. During December 2003, Griggs travelled to the Thai/Burma border town of Mae Sot, where he produced a series of drawings, and collaborated with Burmese artist Maung Maung Tinn on art workshops at Thailand’s renowned ‘Mae Tao Clinic.’ Dr. Cynthia Maung, a Burmese refugee, established the clinic after the 1988 student massacre in Rangoon. Since then, Dr. Cynthia has become the first recipient of the Jonathan Mann Health and Human Rights award. Her ‘Mae Tao Clinic’ aims to help all people, irrespective of their situation. Her patients have included underprivileged Thai citizens, migrant workers and soldiers of all allegiances. Griggs researched stories from Mae Sot’s past to produce the twelve pen, ink and gouache drawings, which transcribed the violent memories of people that Griggs worked with in the town. They also investigated the corrupt world of migrant worker factories, and the globalization of local businesses. These drawings were combined in Destination Disaster with a large wall painting depicting a huge eagle, which hovered threateningly over the space, and a floor installation which provided a visual counterpoint to the two-dimensional works. Like the drawings, the floor piece reflected the horrors of everyday life in such a volatile situation. Constructed from wood, Blu-Tack, ceramics, cotton and paint, Griggs’s unique sculptural arrangement read like an abstract collection of various cultures’ unwanted memories. With objects hanging off one-another in no apparent order, the viewer was confronted with the uncanny sense of having invaded a personal space - or perhaps having walked around a street corner to find themselves staring into a decapitated head, still smoking a cigarette. Destination Disaster presented as a snapshot into the world of the refugees living on the Thai/Burma border - and an overview of some of the morbid events that are slowly shaping the world we all live in.
Supported by a Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship - National Association for the Visual Arts.
David Griggs lives and works in Sydney. Griggs graduated with a BVA (Painting), with first class honours, from the Sydney College of the Arts in 1999. Griggs’ recent solo exhibitions include; Outside History, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney 2002; Radio Death Camp, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney 2001; and Me Against My Brother, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney 2000. Group exhibitions have included; The Fucken Weird Show, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne 2003; Anita and Beyond, Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest, Sydney 2003; and Octopus 3: Still Time, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces 2002. Griggs recently traveled to the Thai/Burma border town of Mae Sot on a Freedman Foundation travelling scholarship.
[Biographical information current as at June, 2004]
David Griggs: Destination Disaster, 4 - 26 June 2004, Text: Paul Curran
A5 catalogue, colour reproductions, 8 pages, $3.30