SMH: The National: using art to tell stories of family who could not speak

SMH: The National: using art to tell stories of family who could not speak

Article by Neha Kale

Domesticity has long informed NAS alumnus Mitch Cairns’ visual vernacular. He’s an artist for whom motifs from everyday life – an apple core, say, or a bathroom mirror – become the stuff of witty and intelligent paintings whose rewards grow the longer you look.

When he was commuting to Sydney’s National Art School, he supported himself by working as a labourer for his father, David, a bricklayer.

“That was my first exposure to physical work,” he says. “It was early thinking around labour, structure – just very basic sort of things.”

Cairns says his father has visited every one of his exhibitions. As part of his presentation at Carriageworks for The National, the pair have built a brick wall together.

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Photo: Steven Siewert

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