All-over-the-place nature of squash expressed in art

Return Game, this year’s winner in the City of Joondalup’s major acquisitive art award.
Return Game, this year’s winner in the City of Joondalup’s major acquisitive art award.

The winner of this year’s City of Joondalup major acquisitive art award grew up playing the sport at Marmion along with another court game, basketball, with the Kingsley Cougars.

The former Allenswood Primary School student even suffered for his art. ‘At Marmion years and years ago my brother hit me in the eye with a ball and I ended up in hospital for two weeks,’ he told the Weekender.

‘I almost lost my sight in my left eye.’

But it is the game’s frenetic nature, more than what may have become of his sight, that has surfaced in his art journal and his award-winning study, Return Game.

The work features a main piece of red-painted lines on reconstructed squash court, a smashed racquet and a six-framed study of his journal work, including a red T (they say to win a game of squash you must control the T) and black marks left by the sport’s rubbery ball.

‘Usually the red line is obviously part of the game space but I’ve lifted the lines and I like to keep it ambiguous whether or not it is tracking the person running through a court or whether or not it’s meant to be the ball,’ he said.

‘But whatever it is, you’re in that sports space. And it’s so rugged. When I play with my friends we’re all over the place and I’m trying in almost all of these works to push that it’s kind of like a rugged sport. It’s a hard sport.

‘There’s the drawing where I’ve hit the ball into a piece of paper around 2000 times and the broken squash racquet and there is that running-ragged theme that should go through all of it.’

Parfitt found the wood for the piece from a timber recycling company in Bayswater.

‘I had to drive out there and have a look at it,’ he said. ‘They must be going around packing up squash courts and game spaces.

‘A student I teach at Curtin came in with a heap of jarrah basketball court with all the lines and all that kind of stuff in. He got me a bit excited so I went out there and found some squash court.’

The work of Parfitt and the other invited artists is on display at Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City until November 15. Visitors can vote in the people’s choice category.

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