David Griggs

Click to see work by David Griggs

Sydney artist David Griggs creates paintings that explore the darker undercurrents of human existence. For an exhibition of new work in the Level two contemporary project space at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Exchanging Culture for Flesh, Griggs presents a series of paintings in a constructed environment of fences and camouflage. His works are vibrant and mischievous, and suggest that something is out of kilter – the worlds they represent are strangely cogent in an attempt to make sense of the uncertain times in which we live.

Griggs has travelled extensively, making contact with communities that are facing repression, and who are witnessing the fabric of their societies being stripped of their cultural character due to increasing external forces. After being awarded a 2003 Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship, Griggs ventured to Mae Sot, a town on the border of Thailand and Burma. The town is in close proximity to three Burmese refugee camps policed by the Thai military that have detained Burmese exiles since the 1988 student uprising in Rangoon. The artist drew inspiration from younger people in the camps who were having their creativity quashed by Thai authorities. They reacted by investigating alternative ways to express themselves and to engage in protest. Their stories formed the basis of Griggs’ exhibition Destination Disaster, held at Gerturde Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, in 2004.

David Griggs was born in a Lockheed Hercules somewhere above the north coast of Australia in 1975. At the age of 18 he worked for an underground newspaper, photographing poverty in North India and Nepal. In 1996, while travelling in China, he had a near death experience and has since devoted his life to producing paintings that explore the darker sides of humanity. Griggs has exhibited extensively around Australia and has recently held his first international solo exhibition The Buko Police at Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila, 2005.

Born 1975 Sydney, Australia. Lives and works Manila, Philippines


2007 Master of Fine Arts (Sculpture), College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales

1999 Bachelor of Visual Art (Painting), Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney


2010 The sort of black claymore paintings, PABLO Gallery, Manila

2009 Zombie Kiss, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne

New York Paris London Rome Manila City Jail, MOP Projects, Sydney

New York Paris London Rome Manila City Jail, presented in cooperation with Asialink and Australian Embassy – Manila, and Green Papaya Art Projects – Manila

2008 All I want is peace in the Middle East, a blow-job, and a free T-shirt, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney

David Griggs at IMA@TCB, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

2007 Blood on the Streets, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne

Blood on the Streets, Artspace, Sydney

2006 Exchanging Culture for Flesh, Level 2 Contemporary Project Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

Bleeding Hearts Club, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney

2005 The Buko Police, Green Papaya Art Projects, Manila

2004 Destination Disaster, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne

2003 Outside History, The Studio, Sydney Opera House, Sydney

2002 Outside History, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney

2001 Radio Death Camp, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney

2000 Me Against My Brother, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney


2010 Inversion of the Ideal, Galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, Graz

Painting with a hammer to nail the crotch of civilization, Manila Contemporary, Manila

Bastards of Misrepresentation (doing time on Filipino time) Freies Museum, Berlin

Free Range Aesthetics: Pussyfooting Through the Detritus Mind Field of Reality, Skyline Gallery, San Francisco

Disorder Disorder Ulterior Motives in Contempororary Art, Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest, Sydney

Post Criminal, David Griggs + Adam Cullen, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney

The Death of Death (is alive and kicking), Art Center, Manila

Twenty/20, UTS-Gallery, Sydney

CODED, Blacktown Arts Center, Sydney

2009 Fluid Zones: Jakarta Biennale, Jakarta, Indonesia

Group Show, MO Space, Manila, Philippines

2008 Under my skin, Asialink touring exhibition

Neo Goth – back in black, University of Queensland, Brisbane

Hijacked, curated by Mark McPherson, Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney

Australian, curated by Nicholas Tsoutas, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

Revolving Doors: an exhibition in memory of Blair Trethowan, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne

2007/08 The Independence Project, GALERIE PETRONAS, Malaysia and Gertrude Contemporary Art

Spaces, Melbourne

2007 God Captured Like Fossilized Dung: New Art from the Third World, Firstdraft, Sydney and Inflight, Hobart

NADA Art Fair, Uplands Gallery Booth E4, Miami

End of Year Show, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne

2006 Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Parallel Lives: Australian Painting Today, Tarrawarra Biennial (curated by Victoria Lynn), Tarrawarra Museum of Art, Healesville

Fantastic Voyage, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney

Winners are Grinners (curated by Hannah Matthews), The Meat Market, Melbourne

2005 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition, Artspace, Sydney

Hardwired (curated by Robert Wellington), Firstdraft, Sydney

Freedman Foundation, Sir Hermann Black Gallery, Sydney

The Centenary of Wild Beasts, MOP Projects, Sydney

2004 Out of the Blue, MOP Projects, Sydney

Rude Shock, Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest, Sydney

Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition, Artspace, Sydney

Group Show, Kaliman Gallery, Sydney

GG Allen Breaks the Window, Inflight, Hobart

2003 Festivus, Sherman Galleries, Sydney

The Beetles, Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Sydney

Balance of Power, Raid Projects, Los Angeles, USA

Not All Heroes and Legends, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney

The Fucken Weird Show, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne

Anita and Beyond (curated by Lisa Havilah), Penrith Regional Gallery, Sydney

2002 Octopus 3 (curated by Charlotte Day), Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne

OBJECTion (curated by Tim Silver and Russell Storer), Sarah Cottier, Sydney

2001 OBJECTion (curated by Tim Silver and Russell Storer), The Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zealand

Black to Basics, 1st Floor, Melbourne

Black to Basics, Rubyayre, Sydney

Bootcamp, Block, Sydney

2000 Australian Painters at the Millennium, Imperial Slacks, Sydney

Skulls and Solicitors, Gallery 4A, Sydney

1999 Qintex, Smith and Stonely, Brisbane

Dazzle (curated by Russell Storer and Andrew Mcqualter), 1st Floor, Melbourne

Hack, Grey Matter Contemporary Art, Sydney

Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition, Artspace, Sydney

1998 Fibro, Australian Perspecta, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney

Vietnam Voices, Casula Powerhouse Arts Center, Sydney

1996 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship Exhibition, COFA Gallery, Sydney


2008 Melbourne Art Fair 2008, Artist Commission: Frog boy’s dissertation into a new karaoke cult

2007 Primavera Artist Prize, Museum of Contemporary Art

2004 International Program, Overseas Travel Grant, NSW Ministry for the Arts

2003 Freedman Foundation Travelling Art Scholarship for emerging artists

2001 Winner of the Willoughby City Art Prize, Painting

1997 Sir William Dobell Scholarship, Sydney College of the Arts


2009 Green Papaya Art Projects, Philippines, Asialink Residency Program

2008 Barcelona Studio, Australia Council for the Arts, Spain

2007 Artspace Studio Residency, Sydney

2005 Ateneo University Manila, Asialink Residency Program Artspace Studios, Sydney

2004 Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest, Sydney

2003 Mae Sot, Thai/Burma border


Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

University of Queensland

Joyce Nissan Collection, Melbourne

Powerhouse Museum

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre

Tamworth Regional Gallery

Germanos Collection, Sydney

Private collections