Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE - Aaron Cor­lett

ASTA Lan­der is “mon­key­ing around” for a cause close to her heart as part of her first solo ex­hi­bi­tion.

The Leem­ing artist’s ex­hi­bi­tion opened at the Vic Park Cen­tre for the Arts on Fri­day and closes to­day.

The Mon­key­ing Around ex­hi­bi­tion show­cases 40 colour­ful, re­cy­cled toy mon­keys and 20 hand­painted tote bags dec­o­rated by the artist and hopes to raise aware­ness for the Hu­mane Re­search Aus­tralia’s Ban Pri­mate Ex­per­i­ments cam­paign.

Lan­der said she was shocked by the use of pri­mates at east­ern states uni­ver­si­ties.

“Just like the real mon­keys, I wanted to give the toy mon­keys a sec­ond life and so I dec­o­rated them in a flam­boy­ant way,” she said.

“I learnt quite a lot in the process of putting the ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether; in the past I’ve done nice por­traits and acrylic paint­ings but I wanted to be play­ful and en­cour­age others to do the same.

“My own in­ner critic was be­ing a jerk but I en­joyed putting the ex­hi­bi­tion to­gether.”

Lan­der said she had no ex­pec­ta­tions when she started the project and she just wanted to have fun.

“It all started in April af­ter my fa­ther passed away; I’ve be­come quite fond of the mon­keys, they feel like my ba­bies,” she said.

“I col­lected them at op shops and once peo­ple found out about the project they do­nated some to me, which was fan­tas­tic.”

Lan­der said af­ter turn­ing 50, she de­cided to ex­plore her artis­tic side in 2013 and pushed her­self to do the 365 Paint­ings Chal­lenge, which in­volves do­ing one paint­ing a day for a year.

“I moved back to Nar­ro­gin, where I had grown up, and re­alised that I hadn’t done as bad as I thought dur­ing school,” she said.

“Grow­ing up, I thought I was av­er­age and I had no ex­po­sure to artists like I do now.

“I re­vis­ited my past and re­alised I didn’t fail at school and I should pur­sue art.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d462885

Asta Lan­der with her toy mon­keys.

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