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"Skuat Pasin (Team Spirit) is a group of designs I built for, or in memory of my squad in Papua New Guinea and Australia. I have been following the visual codes present in Rugby League, tribal fighting, Guernseys and Wahgi shields throughout my practice, generating designs and sculptural works that are essentially coded portraits and landscapes. My experiences making work in PNG with my family has been rewarding on many levels and the thing I miss the most while in Australia is working in a team with my uncles and brothers. Sometimes I feel the necessity to call upon the spirit of the team for emotional, mental and physical strength."

In Melanesian Pidgin English, rot bung literally describes an intersection, junction, or fork in the road. To stap long (be at) rot bung indicates a personal turning point, to be in crisis or in a moment of critical impact. The text applied over this wall painting and adjacent to Frederick McCubbin’s 1855 painting A Bush Burial – a representation of Australian colonial settler subjects – is a loose translation of lyrics by British songwriter PJ Harvey. These have been translated into Pidgin English and relate to a personal story of the artist’s late cousin and poroman (friend), Awari. Using language and anecdotal references to memorialise great personal loss during times of war and conflict, the text is an intimate conversation between Bridgeman and McCubbin.

Details

  • Title: Rot Bung (Junction)
  • Creator: Eric Bridgeman
  • Date Created: 2019/2020
  • Location Created: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
  • Physical Dimensions: dimensions variable
  • Provenance: Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from Arts Queensland and the Australia Council for the Arts. Courtesy the artist; Milani Gallery, Brisbane; and Gallerysmith, Melbourne.
  • Type: painting
  • Rights: Biennale of Sydney
  • Medium: acrylic on wall
  • Edition: 22nd Biennale of Sydney (2020): NIRIN

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