Street artist Kaff-eine and her cheeseagle team created an onsite art installation as much-needed shelter with two notorious dumpsite slum communities in Manila, Philippines. The global premiere of their ‘Happyland’ documentary and exhibition will be held at the Human Rights Arts and Film Festival in Melbourne, May 2017 Kaff-eine and her international team reunited with two notorious and impoverished dumpsite communities of Baseco and Happyland, Manila, creating and installing a collection of ‘art tarpaulins’ that featured Kaff-eine’s portraits of 10 community personalities. The resulting open-air exhibition celebrated the communities, while also providing them with much-needed resources for shelter.
Kaff-eine explains: “The communities involved in my last project, Phoenix, made it clear that housing is really important. We wanted to make something creative, valuable and special; so we found 10 interesting personalities from the slums, I painted their portraits, we printed these on to large advertising tarpaulins, and returned to the slums where residents installed them among the garbage and shanties. As soon as we’d photographed the installations, the community used the tarps to build or reinforce their homes.”
The team interviewed residents featured in the portraits, who range from students to community workers, laundry women, child scavengers and gangsters. The crew also followed the tarp installation process amid the daily life of the residents, which included scavenging and cooking recycled garbage to eat.
The resulting guerilla-style Happyland documentary is raw, confronting and visually striking. It invites audiences to meet the communities that have such fearsome reputations, hear their stories, and follow how new friends from very different backgrounds collaborate to bring an ambitious project to life in the wastelands of Manila.
The 50-minute Happyland documentary and accompanying exhibition premieres at the 2017 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival in Melbourne. The Happyland exhibition which includes the 10 Kaff-eine portraits, photographs of the installation and vignettes of daily life in these slums, will be showing at the No Vacancy Project Space in Federation Square.
“I’m stoked that the documentary and exhibition are premiering in this festival’, says Kaff-eine. ‘The Happyland project aims to connect people from different walks of life: when people connect with the stories and lives of those in Baseco and Happyland, they begin to see similarities instead of differences. Fear and anxiety become curiosity and compassion and many good things can come from that.”
Happyland exhibition opening on 5 May @ 6 – 9 PM at No Vacancy Project Space, the Atrium, Federation Square, Melbourne. Exhibition runs 5-21 May. Details of No Vacancy online here: www.no-vacancy.com.au
Happyland documentary premieres on 6 May @ 6:45 PM (followed by Q&A with cheeseagle team). Tickets available from 4 April online at www.hraff.org.au