image Anna Banana's Art image

An Introduction


Banana Flag, 1983

Many labels seem to apply to Banana's work; conceptualist, performance and mail-artist, and from these activities, one project leads to another, utilizing whatever media the concept requires. Her 1971-2 Town Fool project in Victoria, BC involved teaching and organizing events such as the April Fool's Day Decorate a Banana and/or Egg, at the Hillside shopping mall. Her aim from the beginning has been to involve her audience in a creative process, rather than passively look on. The Town Fool project spawned her newsletter, the Banana Rag, which connected her to the International Mail Art Network (IMAN), resulting in 40 years of mail-art exchanges, participation in network exhibits and projects, writing and publishing. This networking provided materials and ideas for other works, and an ongoing connection to an international community of artists who are, like her, more interested in creating and exchanging ideas and small artworks than in producing "marketable goods." The IMAN is an open network that is inclusive rather than exclusive, with no entry fees or criteria, which provides artists with exchanges of works, positive interactions and documentation of participation in projects and exhibitions. In a word, acknowledgement.

Potatos, 2002

While known for her performances of Dada and Futurist scripts, Banana has long favored, and continues to create interactive events. Aside from poking fun at well known cultural phenomena, a major objective of these works is to engage the audience in the action, whether it be a parody of the Olympic Games, a fashion show or a "scientific" research project. Through this approach she blurs the boundaries between stage/performer and audience; performance and "real life."

The documentatjon of these events; video and audio tapes, photos, texts and reviews, she use in lectures workshops, publications, artistamps, Artist Trading Cards, one-of-a-kind books, or "mailers." In 40 years of mail-art activity, she has created and mailed collages, sheets of artistamps; recycling visual material from her events, from received mail and from mass media magazines and newspapers. While interaction is what motivates her work, she has also exhibited her collages in conjunction with documentation from her events. Since 1988, she has presented The Popular Art of Postal Parody; an exhibition of artistamps by network artists at the Sunshine Coast Art Center, the Richmond Art Gallery and Open Space in Victoria. This exhibition is still available for other bookings.

Mudflap Mandala, 1998

Banana's first published writing about her experiences as a teacher in the New School in Vancouer, came out in the book Radical School Reform (1969). Since then, her focus has been the art and artists of the IMAN, published in mail art 'zines, books and catalogues such as; VILE Magazine, Correspondence Art, Artistamp News, Banana Rag and Rubberstampmadness

Copyright 2011 Anna Banana, all rights reserved.