'Regard the Enemy as your _elf'

 In 1978, following the exhibition of The Shooter's Gallery at the Victorian Ministry for the Arts Gallery, I was commissioned to present a design for an art tram. At the time a developing list of artists who had been invited these included; Howard Arkley, Elizabeth Gower, John Nixon, Peter Corrigan, Andrew Southall & later Michael Leunig. In the year 2000, some 22 years later, a number of festive trams were painted by a spectum of artists as a part of the Moomba festival.

Following are my designs submitted for that proposal.  These images are all painted in oils paint and in minature - in preparation for the challenge entailed in painting the tram.

In Japanese mythology there are five different physical elements. Musashi' recognises five different psychological attitudes in battle; his 'Book of Five Rings' defines the exact methods or techniques to apply to each element.

The text had been taken from the well known 'Book of Five Rings' by Miyamoto Musashi written in 1645.  Mushashi had been a famous Samurai warrior, who later in life retired into meditation from which he wrote his now famous text 'The Book of Five Rings'.  This book became well known as a handbook for Japanese businesmen in the 70s and 80s. Musahi's original text was edited and re-contextualised within a cross-cultural re-reading of the history of art. In this respect 'Regard the enemy as your _elf' prefigures the post-modern modes of appropriation, which came to rise in Australian painting of the 80s (Immants Tillers, Juan Davila.)

Despite the their enthusiasm for my designs, its ambiguous cultural subject matter proved too much for the Ministry for the Arts, the tram was never painted. 


Mirka Mora Art Tram Peter Corrigan Art Tram

Melbourne Art Trams - Mirka Mora, Peter Corrigan, Howard Arkley, circa 1978.