Thursday, 31 December 2020

Goodbye David Medalla (1942-2020)

 As if 2020 hadn't already been full of enough turmoil, I was saddened to hear of the death of my friend, the artist, David Medalla, who died in Manila on Monday. He was a joyous and mischievous soul, whose stories about his colourful life will stay with me always.


Artists, David Medalla & Wayne Chisnall, at London Biennale event 2004

My favourite, of the many stories that he told me, was of how Imelda Marcos once ordered his execution after he caused a scene at a political event in the Philippines - when he spat in the face of Ronald Regan (the then Governor of California - before he became President of the US) as a protest at something Regan had done. That's the short story - the full story involves David amusingly, and narrowly, avoiding his would be, machine gun-firing, executioners. Fortunately he survived that one and went on to have many more colourful adventures.

Artists, David Medalla & Adam Nankervis, at London Biennale event, Crystal palace, London 2004

David's oeuvre is broad but he is probably best known for his 'Cloud Canyon' pieces - sculptures dating from the 1960s; works that he labelled 'auto-creative-art'.


David Medalla, being interviewed with of one of his 'Cloud Canyon' sculptures, London 2005

David's death prompted me to look through some of the photos that I'd taken of him, and of the rest of the art collective (a group called the London Biennale, and set up by David and his friend, the artist/curator, Adam Nankervis) that I was part of. These photos from 2004-2005, when I was more active in the group, definitely helped me to smile at this sad time.

Artist, David Medalla (1942-2020), at a London Biennale event, 2004