Author Archives: Kelley Dawkins

About Kelley Dawkins

An American artist living in Doha, Qatar who enjoys painting the images that she sees in her mind with bright, bold colors.

‘Fresh Produce’

‘Fresh Produce’

A food-themed art show at the Showcase Gallery in Central TAFE for students receiving their advance degrees in Graphic Arts.

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‘Fresh Produce’
Showcase Gallery, Perth Australia
Preview from 22nd & 23rd May
Auction Night 23rd May, 5-7:30 pm

Such a delightful, whimsical art show to happen upon on our way to lunch.  As one walks in the door, the friendliest cow acts as a greater with a fresh basket of produce at its feet, free for visitors.  The cow-spotted balloons and chalkboard signage set the relaxed mood of the gallery.

Waffle Indulgence Naomi Ward Coloured Pencil & Copic marker

Waffle Indulgence
Naomi Ward
Coloured Pencil & Copic marker

Artwork reflecting the varied personalities of the students hangs on the walls, with everything from a woman bathing in syrup of a delicious looking waffle (my favorite) to two cherries doing coke as a spoof on ‘Cherry Coke.’  While the seriousness of each pieces varies dramatically, the talent does not.  Each artwork is carefully composed and demonstrates an immense amount of skill.  It seems that as each artist reflected on how to depict food for this show, a gallery develops that shows each of our individual relationships to what we consume.  From the simple ‘Death Before Decaf’ statement by David Horta to the political ‘Corn-nade’ by David Marshall one can see how superficially or controversially people relate to their food.  Even those of us that do not drink lots of caffeine know better than to take it away from someone who does.  It’s not a deep message, but a clear and relatable one.  In Horta’s own words, “a simple hand written typographic pieces protesting a designers need for caffeine consumption.” On the other hand, David Marshall takes a serious stand in the very current, political debate about GMO’s and how they affect the food we eat.  He graphically states that eating genetically modified corn is like eating a grenade.  I don’t know about anybody else, but I have no desire to eat a grenade.  Nothing good can come from that.  He states, “This piece is a reaction to Monsanto and other food corporations that genetically modify food for their own personal gain.  While they use food as a weapon to grow rich, we are left as the casualties.”  Marshall’s is an excellent example of how a picture is worth a thousand words.  Horta’s message is a bit more of a word to the wise.  Both are wonderful.

On Friday evening, the artwork sold through a silent auction to raise money for the student’s end of year exhibit.  Another whimsical twist was that many of the images were available as stickers for $1.  Happily, I chose two.  It was disappointing to miss the auction night, but if ‘Waffle Indulgence’ is still available, let me know!

Qatar as a “Cultural Disrupter”

One of my favorite art-related blogs is Hyperallergic.  Recently they wrote a critique of a New York Times article on Sheikha al-Mayassa Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani as a “cultural disrupter.”  This article fascinated me for three reasons.  First, I used to live and work in Qatar where the art scene grew by leaps and bounds during my 3.5 years there.  I loved it while I was there and continue to follow it with great interest.

One of the fourteen Damien Hirst sculptures in Doha, Qatar.  Photo from the Doha News.

One of the fourteen Damien Hirst sculptures in Doha, Qatar. Photo from the Doha News.

Second, the idea of being a cultural disrupter in and of itself is fascinating.  A cultural disrupter is someone who redesigns the cultural landscape.  Through the massive, massive amounts of spending, Sheikha al-Mayassa, who is the chairwoman of the Qatar Museums Authority, single-handedly built a reputation for Qatar as an international player on the cultural scene.  Many people know of Qatar through their contributions and purchases in the art world, including the recently installed, fourteen, 3-storey tall Damien Hist sculptures showing different stages from conception to birth.  It is amazing how Qatar has an international reputation built through the arts, not war, politics, or revolution, but art.  (Yes, Qatar has a lot of political power, but many people only know of Qatar through their involvement in the arts.)

Lastly, the Hyperallergic article does not ignore Qatar’s human rights violations and the fact that many cultural institutions were physically built using guest workers who are generally treated poorly.  That the article brings these negatives to light, gives it more credibility than those that simply cover the acquisitions and sales while ignoring the costs.  Hopefully, the more Qatar rises in the world, the more they will shed the negative aspects of their development to become a proper role model for others.

As Qatar finds its place in the world, it chooses to become a quiet political powerhouse and a loud “cultural disrupter” in the international cultural landscape.  It’s a great combination.

Seattle Street Art

During a wonderful weekend trip to Seattle, I discovered what a truly art-friendly city looks like.  Not only is Seattle well-known for its permanent art collections (see the earlier blog about Dale Chihuly’s Garden and Glass), the street art is great.

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These photos were taken while walking from our hotel to the Pike Place Market.  I limited the images to this 20 minute walk to help you understand how wide-spread the street art is, from government paid electric box coverings to private business’ wall murals, to illegal images.  If this is what is seen during a short walk, imagine what the rest of the city is like.  Enjoy!