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Art_by_Kaffeine_--_Photo_by_Daniel_Wilson_(4)by Daniel Wilson

Australian contemporary and street artist Kaff-eine has collaborated with more than 100 residents of major Filipino slum communities and local Filipino photographers, Geloy Concepcion and Geric Cruz, to create an exhibition of new works on paper, photographs and a short documentary. The exhibition, titled Phoenix, was presented at James Makin Gallery in Melbourne last month.

Phoenix, celebrates stories and personalities from the often-ignored dumpsite communities of Baseco Compound and Happyland, located within Metro Manila, which are home to more than 40,000 men and 20,000 women and children. Proceeds from sales of the collaborative works will be donated to non-government organisations working in the communities, for programs that help to improve the collaborators’ living circumstances.

“We’re hoping that Phoenix, which is part of a series of ongoing art and social change projects, will engage a wide audience, disrupt perceptions and share with viewers the creativity, resilience and spirit of the people living in Manila’s literal waste lands,” said artist Kaff-eine.

“Phoenix: a beautiful mythical creature, which rises from the ashes of destruction.”

From the ash and charcoal of Manila’s most impoverished dumpsite slums rises a striking exhibition by Kaff-eine, with friends Geloy Concepcion and Geric Cruz, featuring collaborations between Kaff-eine and Manila’s garbage-pickers and charcoal-makers.

Kaff-eine combines her realist watercolour and charcoal portraits with the images and stories made on-site by the creative, resilient garbage-pickers and charcoal-makers from Baseco Compound and the Aroma Happyland slum. The collaborations were created with the charcoal made in these slums. These paintings are accompanied by beautiful photography from the area, and the global premiere of the special Phoenix documentary, which follows the intimate art-making process in the slums. Phoenix photographers/filmmakers Geloy and Geric travelled from Manila to Melbourne for the opening of the exhibition.

Art_by_Kaffeine_--_Photo_by_Daniel_WilsonBaseco Compound and Happyland are often described as dirty, dangerous, crime-ridden, violent and ‘godforsaken’, attracting little interest, empathy, or investment to make changes to the communities’ appalling circumstances. Phoenix was an opportunity for audiences to step inside these confronting environments and recognise the nuance, pride and strength of the exceptional communities living in Manila’s literal wastelands.

A third instalment of this project is planned for 2016 and will be titled Happyland. For Happyland, Kaff-eine will be painting portraits of Baseco and Happyland’s local heroes, and printing the portraits on many large tarpaulins. In partnership with the communities, the tarps will be installed and gifted to the residents for housing or other uses, further investing in their communities and inviting change.

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