Kaff-eine and Emily met in law school and have worked together on several creative projects since 2012, including two children's books, Vera and The Promise, and the Heartcore project.
After traveling to the Philippines together in 2013, their shared interest in creating beautiful art designed to be exhibited and create social impact became clear. Kaff-eine's Kalabaw and Phoenix projects have developed the ideas, relationships and impetus behind the 2016 Happyland project.
Artwork by Kaff-eine. Photograph by Rowena Naylor.
Emily and Kaff-eine first collaborated on a visual art and social justice project beginning in 2012, co-creating the Heartcore book for Berry Street, a Victorian child and family organisation.
Kaff-eine interpreted stories written by young people in Berry Street care and painted them as a series of 20 street art murals across public walls in inner Melbourne and Victoria regional centres. Heartcore is a hardcover art book featuring the young peoples’ stories with professional photos by Rowena Naylor of the corresponding murals. A mini-documentary of the Heartcore project was made by Caden Pearson.
Heartcore honored the young authors’ stories and brought the broad social justice themes to a wide audience.
Released in 2014, it is now in its first re-print. All proceeds from the Heartcore book support Berry Street's work with children and young people. Copies of the book can be ordered from Berry Street here.
Kaff-eine for HEARTCORE - a mini documentary (2014) by Caden Pearson
ABC, The Conversation Hour, 2014. Listen here.
Alex McCulloch, The Arts Show, 2014. Listen here.
Melbourne Law School Alumni, Art and soul of the community, 2014. Read here.
Right Now, Human Rights Radio, 2014. Listen here.
Zainab Hussain Shihab for Artshub, Stories of neglect write hope on the walls, 2013. Read here.
Artworks by Kaff-eine. Photographs by Kaff-eine and Rowena Naylor.
solo exhibition by kaff-eine
Kalabaw was the first of Kaff-eine's Manila projects. For this solo exhibition at 45 downstairs gallery in Melbourne, Kaff-eine created a new collection of works celebrating the dignity, strength, resilience, warmth and humanity of Filipino communities through her signature street-art style and characters, and her photorealistic portraiture.
Proceeds from the Kalabaw exhibition were used to support the Phoenix project.
Kaff-eine collaborated with more than 100 residents of major Filipino slum communities and local Filipino photographers and film makers, Geloy Concepcion, Geric Cruz and Marti Salva, to create an exhibition of charcoal-based works on paper, photographs and a short documentary.
Phoenix was shown at James Makin Gallery in Melbourne from 6 - 15 November 2015, and the Phoenix short documentary was an official selection in the 2016 CineMaralita and Dakila Active Vista Film Festivals.
The exhibition celebrated stories and personalities from the impoverished, often-ignored dumpsite communities of Baseco Compound and Happyland, located within Metro Manila, Philippines. These two communities are home to more than 80,000 residents.
Phoenix invited audiences to step inside these confronting environments and recognise the nuance, pride and strength of these communities.
Proceeds from sales of the collaborative works will be donated to Filipino non-government organisations currently working with the communities.
Phoenix documentary trailer (2015)
ABC Radio National and Joel Carnegie, Happyland, 2015. Listen and read here.
Alex McCulloch, The Arts Show, 2015. Listen here.
Alex McCulloch, Exhibition Review: Kaff-eine's Phoenix, 2015. Read here.
BBC World Service and the Space Company, Creative Transformations, 2015. Listen here.
Fluro Digital, Kaff-eine: Raising Awareness for the Forgotten, 2015. Read here.
Mind Food, Capturing the spirit of Manila's slums, 2015. Read here.
Rappler, In hiding street children for APEC, PH gov't violating children's rights, 2015. Read here.
SBS Filipino Radio, Phoenix, bumangon mula Baseco Compound at Happyland, 2015. Listen here.
The Culture Trip, Meet Kaff-eine - One of Melbourne's Best Known Street Artists, 2015. Read here.
The Guardian Australia, In Happyland: the child artists of Manila's 'smokey mountain' slum, 2015. Read here.
The Leader, Thornbury artist creates Phoenix exhibition to document Filipino slum communities, 2015. Read here.
When in Manila, Phoenix: Australian and Filipino artists collaborate with Manila slum communities for an art exhibition to spotlight their creativity and spirit, 2015. Read here.