Of Earth And Insects With Mimi Elashiry & Lochlan Sutherland
We talked to the duo before their collaborative debut on the 9-10th of July!
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Most creative pursuits are soloist endeavours. 

On a journey littered with heartaches, small victories, and grand visions that can seem out of reach, it is rare to find others you succinctly align with – let alone collaborate. Luckily, photographer Mimi Elashiry and resin artist Lochlan Sutherland have done just that. A shared affinity initially stoked the creative fire between the two for capturing fleeting moments and the sublime stillness of nature. After years of orbiting each other’s atmospheres, the pair are ready to make their  debut with the exhibition ‘Of Earth And Insects’ at Melbourne’s famed Backwoods Gallery:

“Amidst the concrete jungle – where grit, grime and adventure become the mundane… We are drawn to something more subtle, yet much bigger than the city.Growing closer through their infatuation with the natural world, Lochlan and Mimi felt their creative feats were destined to contrast and complement each other in a gallery space.”

We caught up with Elashiry and Sutherland before the big opening! 

Hi guys, congratulations on the show! How does it feel for people to see your collaborative efforts?

MIMI: We are so excited to share our art with the world! Its been a long process in the making, we’ve pushed this back a few times, now its finally happening! We have long felt like our art, My Photographs and Lochlan’s Resin Boards – belonged together in an art space, contrasting and complementing each other!

Going back to the beginning, how did you guys initially meet? When did the idea of an exhibition first come up?

LOCHY: It stems back many dance floor moments, from Burning Man to Rainbow Serpent, you name it. However, our friendship really solidified when Mimi was thinking of moving to Melbourne in 2018. My partner and I managed to convince her – it wasn’t hard. She moved to Melbourne in 2019. And she’s been part of the family ever since.

The show explores your relationships to nature in contrast to the concrete world. Why was this important to you both?

MIMI: Our mutual infatuation with nature is undeniable but we reside and thrive in this concrete jungle. The energy, motivation and grind of the city life gives us both so much inspiration. Yet when either Lochy or I travel, go camping or enjoy some nature time – it’s when we really ground down and connect to the source of our artistic creations.

Your bodies of work experiment with different mediums. What was the process like in curating the pieces for the show? 

LOCHY: I felt like the reason why we wanted to do this together, is because our works inherently contrast each other in medium, size, colour and detail. So, as a result curating this exhibition has had a lovely flow, and a lot of trust. We are both striving to create works that will look great together and complement one another in the space. We cant wait to see what it looks like all set up!

Both of you have a fascination with the concept of capturing a moment in time with your works. Why does this carry such resonance?

MIMI: I love to bring nature into my home, organic lines and shapes, dried flowers and bones, I am always taking pictures of the intricacies and imperfections in nature. For three years now, Lochy has been creating beautiful resin skateboards with specimens which he pins and relaxes by hand, as well as other flora within them. His creations play with ideas of perishing and permanence. These themes I feel, are at the core of both of our works. Mine – capturing a moment in time, and his like a time capsule – preserving life that once was.

What are the rest of your plans for 2021? 

LOCHY: 2021 for me, looks like pushing the limits of my art and always growing. We both have many projects in the works, and we can’t wait to continue creating and share the journey with you all! 

There is unique energy about the idea of you guys coming together and making something special when many of us are separated. Do you have any words for creatives feeling a little isolated and disenfranchised during this period? 

MIMI: We have certainly felt isolated in the last 15 months living in Melbourne. This exhibition was originally planned for June 2020.  We have remained accepting of the eb and flow life brings at the moment, Kept at it and waited for the time to be right. We have been very lucky with this timing, our works being complete and there being a slot at Backwoods Gallery – So, it was meant to be! I suppose all of this just teaches us patience and perseverance… It certainly isn’t all rainbows. We’ve had our dark times. But here we are, and damn proud about it!

https://vimeo.com/572130930

To wrap up, is there anyone you’d like to shout out to?

Yes! So many people helped us make this possible! From teaser videos, graphics, photos, framing and booze!

@stephcammarno Steph Cammarano, Thank You for taking photos of us! @yesyesjalepeno Jerome Williams, Thank You for making our invitation and giveaway graphics! @glou.melbourne sustainable winery @burncityrum and @younghenrys for supplying drinks for Opening night!@Backwoods.gallery Tom Groves, Thank You for having us! @mokucollective Matty Johnson, Thank You for making some recycled frames for Mimi’s Photos. @inaselashiry @n.serone Inas El-Ashiry and Nic Serone for our Teaser Video. @staywise, Steph Wiser, Thanks for creating sound for the Video and supplying props for the space. @ystrdaybone, Toby Wright, Thanks For dressing Lochy!@kit_x, Kit Willow, Thanks for Dressing, Mimi!

Thanks to Mimi And Lochy for their time! Follow @mimielashiry and @lochlansutherland @rholtsu.‘Of Earth And Insects’ opens 9-10th of July at Backwood Gallery Collingwood. Make sure you check this one out while it’s up!

Words by Andrew Yee July 8, 2021
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