‘Breathing Life / Bula ni Cegu / Paghinga ng Buhay’ 2022 by Victoria Garcia and Bayvick Lawrance
Located at Patrick Street, Campbelltown
‘Breathing Life / Bula ni Cegu / Paghinga ng Buhay’ is an extravagant, collaborative public artwork created by award-winning artists and designers Victoria Garcia and Bayvick Lawrance. The work is an ambitious intersection of two artists, two cultures, two buildings and two creative disciplines, catalysed by the concept of ‘high fashion meets street art’.
Before establishing successful careers in the fashion industry, both Garcia and Lawrance grew up in South West Sydney. ‘Breathing Life’ is a celebration of Campbelltown’s thriving Pacific community, and the extensive connections between people, plants, animals and all living things. Finding common ground within a love of textiles and print, as well as their respective diasporic Filipino and Fijian heritage, Garcia and Lawrence have considered nature’s effect upon fashion, ornament and architecture. Featuring painted infinity mirrors, giant sequins, lush cascading florals, undulating fibre optics and intricate botanical vignettes with ornately painted borders, the artwork is evocative of an Arcadian temple or sanctuary – bursting with life.
Drawing upon his existing collection of textile prints and his qualifications in floristry, Lawrance adorned the building “as he would a model”. The hard lines of the structure naturally leant themselves to the graphic, tonal forms of traditional Fijian Masi motifs, which Lawrance enlivened with mirrors and other contemporary materials. Some features of the work can only be seen at certain angles or in the reflection of the mirrors. The work subtly changes with the movement of light; mornings conjure a shimmering lace underwater effect, and the afternoon light enflames the rainbow sequins.
Whilst remaining true to her Filipino heritage and harmonising with Lawrance’s practice, Garcia drew upon her extensive visual catalogue and travels to create a work complementary to Campbelltown’s diversity. Garcia’s work is a reclamation of botanical illustration within a post-colonial context – the vibrant flora and fauna acting as a feminine intervention upon the banality of modernist architecture and traditional street art practice. The living elements within Garcia’s work balance intrinsic beauty and primordial chaos. Speaking to the resulting work and the process of collaboration, Garcia says; “An eclectic diversity of cultures is a big part of what it means to be Filipino, especially a diasporic Filipino artist.”
Commissioned by Campbelltown City Council, 2022. With special thanks to Goldwar Pty Ltd, Zois Pty Ltd, Vivid Advisory & Sabsabi Video. Funded by NSW Government CBD Revitalisation Fund.