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Musée de la Création Franche

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February 3 – April 2, 2017 

Andrew Rizgalla and Gene Merritt
Andrew Rizgalla was born in 1975 in Melbourne, Australia, where he still lives today. As an adolescent, he regularly stayed with his grandparents, owners of a farm in Melbourne. During his visits he stayed in a cabin set up by his grandfather in the attic of the century-old farmhouse, where he decorated the walls with his first naive drawings. His grandparents then moved to a cattle farm on Victoria's Phillip Island where Rizgalla learned to surf and further pushed his observation of nature. He also spent many summer holidays in his parents' second home in Queensland, on the Sunshine Coast. Surrounded by exotic frangipani trees and hibiscus, he would spend hours observing how the beach was carved by the waves of the ocean. Rizgalla has travelled all over Australia and to the United States, to surf the famous waves of Waikiki in Hawaii and to appreciate the architecture and collections of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. At 17, he travelled to Africa and crossed Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia on a wild safari. Traditional art captures Rizgalla, who also admires the Jacaranda trees and the savannah animals. He is fascinated by stone carvings, wooden masks, woven baskets, spears and the art of batiks found in traditional African markets. He even went so far as to exchange his favorite socks for one of these objects in a market of Zambia. These different experiences feed his creation and inspire his taste for colour, line drawing and dark circles. Rizgalla presented his work at several group exhibitions in Melbourne, and for the first time in Europe in 2006.

Parallel exhibition Le Juke-Box de Gene Merritt presents drawings by Gene Merritt. Merritt draws animals, cars, and portraits of celebrities from memory, with a ball-point pen on lined paper. After the suicide of his mother when he was 12 years old, he lived alone with his alcoholic and violent father. Ater his father's death, Merritt settled in a caravan and undertook various jobs. Taken by the social services, he settled in a house in which he lives with two televisions permanently switched on and two guitars. This exhibition brings together Merritt's celebrity portraits, including Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Charles Bronson, James Dean, and their discography, vinyl covers and recordings to listen to. The exhibition was organised with the collaboration of the Art Brut Collection of Lausanne, Tom Stanley, professor at the Winthrop University, discoverer and specialist in the work of G. Merritt, and Cultura stores.

58 Avenue Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, 33130 Bègles