Das Platforms / Contemporary Art

BESTIES: A Fundraiser For Our Friends At The Lost Dogs’ Home

by Sophie Kahl

19 Apr 2011

Call them what you will; buddy, companion, confidant, pal, soul mate or in this particular case, besties, they, are always there. To listen, give hope and comfort in times of need, creating a sense of calm and solidarity when the going is tough, we couldn’t imagine our lives without them. In the case of Somewhere’s latest exhibition, a group show entitled BESTIES, artists pay homage to their four legged best friends, the cats and dogs who have, In their own unique way, helped shape and colour their lives. BESTIES, a fundraiser with 100% of proceeds raised going towards helping The Lost Dogs’ Home in North Melbourne, who re-home thousands of injured and abandoned dogs and cats every year and are currently Australia’s largest self funded animal shelter.

Pets show us unconditional love and devotion. Everyone can relate even in some small way, to dogs and cats. Whether it be the memory of a childhood pet, the love for their current pet or the one they someday hope to own.

Each of the 22 artists involved in the show were asked to contribute pieces centred around the general theme, to create work which represents their own relationships and in doing so helps honour that special companion and identify that anomalous connection that can only be shared with mans best friends.

The collective work is complimentary, a dilitantive mixture of collage, print, painting, illustration, sculpture, photography, cartoon and design. Albeit a small gallery space, the essence of the work is compounded, creating a sight somewhat reminiscent of a tapestry.

Gillian Tucker and Craig Dermody’ piece entitled “What A Mess” a colourful collage depicting Gills own dog whatta sitting precociously alongside one of Dermodys now infamous painted monstors. Sean William Bailey’s piece entitled “SUN DOGS” a wooden canvas frame, part collage with his curious symbol like markings painted on in shades of deep blue, evoking a feeling of insouciant fun.

Brett Carwardine’s realistic illustrations make play on the age old notion that owners end up looking like their dogs, he creates this by drawing the owner in silouhette of the dog in both black pencil and the dog in colour in the forefront. Margaret Goninon created a set of three framed works entitled Metro 1,2 and 3 after her beloved adopted cat. The three pieces, one water colour, one coloured pencil etching, almost a childlike impression of a cat, and the last a collage of vintage cat pictures overlooking a background of the London Bridge.

Jessica McElhinney’s photographic piece “ Benny and Me” a black and white self portrait of sorts, Mc Elhinney has subtely and skillfully photoshopped her face onto a retro photo of her mother who sits in a classic beatnik pose by the side of the family beagle.

Jean Cocteau once stated "I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." The emotions which pets evoke, the humour and calm they bring to our lives is inestimable, so it is hoped that through this exhibition it is possible not only to showcase the wide range of work and raise much needed donations for the home but to also encourage more people to consider adoptiog.

BESTIES: runs until April 6th with 100% OF proceeds raised going THE LOST DOGS’ HOME