Artist: Michel Tuffery
Location: Airds, NSW, Australia
The Airds area, in Western Sydney is often characterised by its social disadvantage, with high unemployment, poor health, low income, lack of educational opportunities and high rates of crime. This commission, by the MCA under their C3West program is part of a much larger strategy of metropolitan organisations, collaborating with regional centres to develop work in situ, or in partnership with the local community. In this case, Michael Tuffery, a highly regarded New Zealand artist of Samoan descent, through workshops with local students, created a large scale public work from the burnt out cars which litter the local landscape and the local river, these cars signify the social disadvantage which faces young people. Tuffery's approach, which is more than the construction of the large object, involved a process of mentorship and workshop linking the health of the river to the health of the community. This is the latest of a series of projects by the artist which engage education as a means of addressing the broader cultural health of particular communities, and the nomination and subsequent research would allow for Tuffery's approach, which relies on his Samoan, Pacific identity, and his understanding of indigenous culture and community to be further investigated as an exemplar of this kind of approach to public art within specific social settings.
All copyright belongs to Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University.