A double solo exhibition by Lost Nomad (Ganbold Gawaa Lundaa) and Shannon Johnson.
Ganbold Gawaa Lundaa was born 1975 in a southwest Gobi desert traditional rural village, Mongolia, the third of seven children. His father was the local council representative and mother, the village doctor. At the age of 18 Gawaa’s study was cut short by the Mongolian revolution, during this period he worked as a nomadic herdsman, on either camel or horseback, leaving his village at the age of 20 to do national service. Once completed, he moved to Ulaanbaatar city joining his father's new, post-revolutionary business, which traded cashmere. Soon after, he also began working for a USAID project working to help the economic development of his home region. Throughout this time, he was drawing and would sketch the Gobi desert during his free time.
In 2002 Gawaa began to learn foreign languages and traveled around his country also exploring China and Russia. At the invitation of a friend he had the opportunity to visit the USA. This trip was very instrumental in his life, as it opened his eyes to the many art galleries and resources available to artists that were unfamiliar. Greatly influenced by what he had seen in the visual arts during the time abroad, he began to paint.
In 2003, he returned to Mongolia and met Jessie and fell in love. Gawaa moved to Brisbane, Australia where they had a beautiful daughter called Lily. Gawaa moved to Sydney to focus solely on art and began to explore painting, sculpting and printmaking. The work is based on experience as a Mongolian living in Western society.
Often the materials used for the artworks are recycled, some found on the streets, some purchased from second-hand stores, some donated. The main themes of the work include traditional oriental designs and contemporary text based paintings.
Gawaa studied Fine Arts at TAFE, St George Institute, finishing at the end of 2012 and has since exhibited in various solo and group exhibitions
His mixed media works engage with politics with the use of street signs that are dictations from the powers that be, which are then redirected by the artist. The depictions of politicians are connected to the ideas associated with them, he uses those images to relay his own messages.
Gawaa admits to missing the Gobi Desert and tries to find his way home by recreating his old life through making wire sculptures of the things that were close to him. Due to his nomadic existence where sustainability was the condition, he keeps to this philosophy by using materials that are around him. He sources his materials on the streets around Newtown, using wire from old coat hangers, he forms the shapes of his missing herd of cows, dogs and camels that he once lived amongst.
Shannon Johnson's work has been informed by the visual information of the city streets, from graffiti, advertisements, to deco tiles on shopfronts, and peeling paint. With influences like Warhol, Basquiat and the french nouveaux realiste Jacques de la Villagre, Shannon's work incorporates collage, spray paint, drawing and tends to be quite texture heavy. Inspiration comes in found objects, ripped posters on the streets, abandoned buildings, old books and stories, second hand toys, child hood memories, giant trees, mysterious deep sea creatures, thunder storms, graffiti.
Shannon's recent work is based around the idea of invisible powers, and the presence of absence. Things that have effects but cannot be seen like the pull of magnets, the visceral reaction to nostalgia, the phantom itch, the conviction of faith, the rationale of superstition. The word 'sehnsucht' is a German noun translated as "longing", "yearning", or "craving", or in a wider sense a type of "intensely missing', or the Portuguese, 'saudade', which describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return.
Shannon has been painting and exhibiting for the last 16 years. She completed an Advanced Diploma of Fine Arts at Meadowbank TAFE in 1998, and went on to COFA and graduated with 1st class Honours in 2001. During this period she became involved with artist run initiatives around the Chippendale area in Sydney. She was awarded a three month residency in Paris which opened up new ideas about language and text. This began annual trips overseas to collaborate with new networks growing in Paris, London, Madrid and Turku in Finland. In 2007 Shannon graduated from Masters and had a solo exhibition in Finland. She continues to make work based around these themes and uses found materials from all over the world.