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Melbourne Art Foundation Melbourne Art Fair

2008: David Griggs ‘Frog Boy’s Dissertation into a new karaoke cult’

David Griggs’ Frog boy’s dissertation into a new karaoke cult, a full-scale circus tent, is crafted entirely from paintings on canvas. The imagery painted on the exterior side of the canvas tent is a collection of tough Holy Cross imagery that details blood lettings, crucifixions, portraiture and military security.

Inside the circus tent a large floating video screen documents a performance by Griggs filmed in and around Manila featuring street dogs, gang members, street beggars, Halloween kids and tattooed locals and a fibreglass statue of Jesus Christ.

The work was inspired by fun fairs, carnivals/circuses/freak shows in the Philippines and a 21-year-old man who was a sideshow act at one of the carnivals: Frog Boy. The paintings covering the tent were painted from photographs Griggs took exploring the notion of people living on the edge. The video work was inspired by an old man living in a Manila slum who told Griggs that the people living in the slums do not need more money, they need more faith.

Griggs has a strong interest in exploring the darker side of humanity through the medium of photography, painting, video, sculpture and travel. In 2005 he undertook an Asialink Residency in Manila, Philippines. It was here that the artist’s interest in exploring marginalised and repressed communities provided inspiration for the Melbourne Art Fair 2008 Artist Commission.

Griggs is represented by Uplands Gallery, Melbourne and Kaliman Gallery, Sydney.

David Griggs’ Frog boy’s dissertation into a new karaoke cult was funded by Melbourne Art Foundation and Queensland Art Gallery.


Artist: David Griggs 2008 MAF Commission from Melbourne Art Foundation on Vimeo.