21 March – 8 April 2006: Melissa McVeigh – Brandawear

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Gallery 3

Brandawear is a series of black and white children’s portraits.  Children of various ages pose for the camera. Tattooed across innocent skin are well known brands that target the minor market.  Hotwheels® and McHappy Meals® wrap around a child’s surface. These brands are a concept, a sale, an artificial identity embedded into the skin.

The exhibition is an investigation into the impact of advertising on young children.  The aggressive marketing of companies such as Mattel™ reinforces gender stereotypes. There are boys and their fast cars. There are girls and their pert, pink Barbies graduating to highly sexualized Bratz® dolls. It’s a menagerie of stereotypes that requires a quest for conformity.

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These are some of the first brands to which children are exposed and the beginning of a clearly defined path of consumerism.  Once you get the Hotwheels® toy, the product is repackaged as the Hotwheels® lunch box, the Hotwheels® bed spread, the pencil case, the computer game  and then finally sold again in a McHappy Meal®.  Collect all five.

In 2005, McVeigh was a finalist for the Prometheus Art Award and the winner of the John Margaret Baker Fellowship for emerging artists.  In 2004 she was a finalist for the Canberra Contemporary Art Prize and the Hutchins Art Prize.