Melbourne street artist Kaff-eine’s latest project invites people to reflect on the things they are thankful for, large and small. “Religious belief is really alien to me but the concept of gratitude is not,” she says.
Riffing on the thankfulness theme, she wanted to showcase “the rainbow saints”, the icons and personalities the LGBTIQ community has made its own. She argues that when a community has been shunned, beaten and murdered, “you make your own rituals and icons”. Divine, Dolly Parton and Freddie Mercury are just a few of the “saints” represented.
Called Infinite Thanks, the project involves a chapel-shaped structure with four of Kaff-eine’s trademark figures drawn on the outside. During this week’s Can’t Do Tomorrow Festival, a celebration of street art, visitors were invited to draw or write on the bodies of the characters painted on the outside, as well as the walls within. Inviting people to make their mark is a powerful message in itself.
“When I said take as much space as you want, write as much as you want, people were like ‘Really?’,” she says. “There’s frivolity and fun but then there’s this real poignancy as well.”