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‘Exquisite Familiar’ Artist: Bundy Bannerman

What was the inspiration for your uncanny creature?

I was supposed to get something organised for Adelaide Council and I’d already looked that up, and that’s a fruit bat. It’s popular on the Torrens (River), and I just thought with this idea (the exquisite corpse composition) that it would be great to have the feet where the head is, and the head where the feet is.

A black and white illustration of a fruit bat hanging upside down with their feet on a tree branch. Down the left side of the picture is text saying "The Exquisite Familiar".

Tell us a bit about yourself and your artistic practice.

I grew up at Pimba since ’74, and in 2019 I had another accident to my back, and I thought I’d come down here (Adelaide) and sort it out within six months and go back home. But, three years later I’m still here and I took up art as a hobby in 2020, straight after Covid, so that’s how long I’ve been doing art. It’s been keeping me straight a bit.

How does your disability influence your craft?

I’ve been expressing myself through art a fair bit. My first finalist picture was in 2021 and it was in the old State Library – the original one. (In the picture) I’m holding pills in one hand and a pipe in the other and it’s a diptych, two pictures, and then (on the other picture) I’ve got a bear just raging behind bars in a cage and I’ve put that shadow behind me in the self-portrait, and my shadow behind the beer so that you know that the two work together. And there are arrows where all the pain and suffering was happening to me.

Where else do you find inspiration?

I get home sick, so I’ve been looking in old photos, and I’ve done a couple of paintings that as soon as I’ve looked at them, I wished I was there. I think I caused a flood cause ever since I moved down to Adelaide it hasn’t stopped raining up there!

I would like to get back there, but I can’t with the way my back is – I can’t drive any more than an hour – and with a back injury you can’t see it, so no one really feels that you’ve got an injury until you can’t move.

What food, drink, or song inspires you?

I was a truck driver, and then when I was a doing trips I didn’t smoke, or drink coffee, or drink beer. I love rum and milo and the fridge was too close so I kept nibbling out of the fridge to keep my hands occupied. I love milo – whenever I go somewhere, they ask me for coffee or tea (and) I go milo. Chocolate is next – second-best. I haven’t (drawn milo), but I drew a rum bottle and caused a bit of a discussion so that was good!

Read more of The Exquisite Familiar artist interviews here.