North America: Polluta Residents Portraits

Updated: Aug 28

The exhibition “Welcome to Polluta!” highlights the international cultural exchange in a global art ecology. The hosting Quarantine Film Festival and the Hong Kong team invited Hong Kong, European, and other international artists and filmmakers to “join Polluta” as artist residents, asking them to fill out an entry form and express their opinions on an artist’s role during social conflicts and art’s impact on gentrification.

These two questions are timely reflections of the local history of the Quarantine Film Festival in Bulgaria. The body of 22 “Polluta Residents’ Portraits” features 22 artists’ portraits as animals, reflecting the subject’s own artistic practice.

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For each portrait, I conducted extensive research into the artist or filmmaker’s practice, involving reading every single word on their website or all the materials on the internet. For filmmakers, I always watch every available film, often reaching out for more.


I worked on more than one portrait at a time, overlapping research and painting. That means, sometimes I finished no portraits in months and had several portraits in progress. On average, each portrait took about a month.

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Polluta Resident’s Portrait: Pablo Cristi

Japanese Pigments, pen and lino printing on rice paper

12×18”/ 30x45cm

2020


Pablo’s portrait is definitely one of the most popular in the exhibition. A Chilean who fled to LA with his mother in the 70s, Pablo shared his deep and personal family story to look for a better life.


In his Polluta portrait, he is holding a portrait of Salvador Allende, the Chilean physician and socialist politician who served as the 28th president of Chile in 1970-1973 and the first Marxist to be elected president in a liberal democracy in Latin America, in front of the Chilean national flag.


Pablo also makes beautiful relief prints (of which I proudly own one.) They are graphic and have a political propaganda aesthetics. His Polluta portrait is thus made with the combined technique of Japanese pigment painting and lino relief print.






Polluta Resident’s Portrait: Weston Teruya

Japanese Pigments and pen on rice paper

12×18”/ 30x45cm

2020


I’ve known conceptual and community artist Weston (based in Oakland, CA, USA) since 2016 and have always known that he is a good artist. Only I wasn’t quite sure HOW good.


Only after I had read through every single word on his website, I realised what a great artist he is.


His practice focuses on the often-neglected racial and cultural demographics.


I am an artist and cultural organizer who moves between individual and collective modes of practice to explore personal and community responses to inequity and fragmentation, with listening and inquiry as the starting point for creative reflection and making.


His works are always spot on. Nothing more. Nothing less. The background of his Polluta portrait features key passages excerpted from his website that gives a glimpse into his practice.


A Hawaiian living on the West Coast of USA, he is also as chill as it comes. I’ve bumped into him in Sonoma wine country camping with his wife, friend and his dog! Did I mention his dog? Super cute!





Polluta Resident’s Portrait: Carol Beecher

Japanese Pigments and pen on rice paper

12×18”/ 30x45cm

2020




Polluta Resident’s Portrait: Kevin Kurytnik

Japanese Pigments and pen on rice paper

12×18”/ 30x45cm

2020



Kevin and Carol are veteran animators and animation professors based in Calgary, Canada. I met them at the International Motion Film Festival in Cyprus in 2019. Since then, they have become important mentors for my @Pollutafilm project.


Kevin has such a large generous and magnanimous heart and is so passionate about animation and teaching that it’s all he wants to talk about for hours on end. I love his bear hugs and always feel safe and well-taken-care-of in his presence.


Carol is the funniest quirkiest animator full of bright ideas. You can really see where their animation’s wacky colours and visual effects came from. She is the most brilliant and spirited cat.





Polluta Resident’s Portrait: Mandy Tsung

Japanese Pigments and pen on rice paper

12×18”/ 30x45cm

2020



Mandy Tsung identifies herself as a half-Chinese/half-white artist and tattoo artist with a focus on queer and multi-racial identity in Unceded Squamish, Tsleil-Watuth, Musqueam Territories (Vancouver, Canada.)


When I first knew Mandy more than a decade ago, she had a successful career painting delicate women portraits. The same slender and feminine figures are suggested in her own Polluta portrait with an accurate depiction of her arm tattoo.





Polluta Resident’s Portrait: Thomas Anfield

Colour Pencils and Chinese ink on rice paper

12×18”/ 30x45cm

2020




I took a painting workshop with Thomas 20 years ago (!) and was blown away by his technical virtuoso. Over the years, we have kept in loose touch and reconnected recently.


My favourite (everyone’s favourite) of his works are his monkey series for which he carefully choreographs scenes as still life painting models.


He is also the co-creator, with dance partner Kevin xx, of the company Butoh-A-GO-GO, who were invited by the Moscow Ballet to perform three times, and was awarded a full production residency at Banff which premiered at the Vancouver International Dance Festival.


In the portrait, Thomas strikes a dancing posture on stage as a sock monkey.





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See all the Polluta Residents’ Portraits in flesh.


“Welcome to Polluta”

7-27 August 2022

Curated by Musthavekeys

Solo exhibition at Varna City Art Gallery "Boris Georgiev", Varna, Bulgaria

Invited Guest Artist of The Quarantine Film Festival


Supported by

Hong Kong Arts Development Council


Special Thanks

Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation

Pure Art Foundation

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This is the second edition of Polluta Residents’ Portraits. The first edition (19 in total) was exhibited at solo exhibition “Polluta, Floating Artist Colony in the Sky” at Firstdraft Gallery, the oldest artist-run gallery in Australia in 2019.




All 33 Polluta artist residents will make cameo appearances in Polluta, an animated short (2018 - ) to be finished in 2023. Follow the progress of the film on Instagram or Facebook.



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