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Ground Control Launches at Lobrow Gallery and Bar

Molly McLaughlin

Canberra curator Sancho Murphy’s new project, Lobrow Gallery and Bar, aims to push the boundaries of who and what is considered artistically worthy of a gallery exhibition.

Coordinating what she describes as “a mixed bag of artists, working in different disciplines with varied interpretations,” Sancho has put together Lobrow’s first exhibition, Ground Control, a tribute to David Bowie.

Sancho has established herself in the Canberra “lobrow” arts world through the temporary space The Chop Shop and now her shop Sancho’s Dirty Laundry.

Lobrow Gallery and Bar, a collaboration with Beach Burrito Civic, continues her mission of bringing people together to celebrate weird, different and innovative art in a space that lacks the exclusivity of traditional art galleries.

“It’s a part gallery, part bar, part performance space that aims to provide a low-risk platform for emerging creatives to exhibit and meet others,” Sancho says.

“It’s geared more towards the ‘low-brow’ art practices like tattoo, skate and surf art, airbrushing, pinstriping, illustration, screen-printing, graffiti and street art, stencil art, paste-ups, label launches, screenings, and photography that are under-represented in the Canberra gallery sphere.”

Sancho Murphy.

Sancho Murphy.

As street art gains prominence in the mainstream arts market and inner city gentrification continues in Canberra and in cities all over the world, Sancho is passionate about preserving the rough, immediate charm of graffiti and other alternative art forms.

“The combination of de-institutionalised art and the re-appropriation of public spaces has the potential to reach people outside the ‘fine arts’ inner circle,” she says.

“I like how graff is so honest, bold, knee-jerk, quippy, derelict and poignant. It’s no filters in the purest form.”

After struggling to find a way to balance the creative and administrative sides of her business in the past, Sancho is inspired by the Canberra art and design community around her to create spaces where anyone can experiment, make mistakes and express themselves.

By Jess Dudfield from Canberra.

A piece from the exhibition by Jess Dudfield of Canberra.

“This year I’m really motivated by the crew I’ve been collaborating with,” she says.

“It’s a handful of individuals spanning from their early twenties to their early thirties, including animators, artists, designers, photographers, illustrators, ‘graffers’ and MC’s. They’re the kind of people that don’t stop until the job is done, they don’t stop when the clock hits 5.30pm.”

Sancho’s enthusiasm for the Ground Control exhibition and the future of Lobrow Gallery and Bar is infectious. She is a self-described “obsessive” when it comes to connecting talented and emerging artists with opportunities to showcase their work, and is eager to share the exhibition with Canberra.

“I want to melt people’s faces with the events that trickle through Lobrow – I want people to turn up because they genuinely want to experience something new,” she says.

“Running Sancho’s Dirty Laundry and Lobrow doesn’t feel like ‘work’, I can’t really imagine doing anything else for now, so I’m happy.”

the essentials

What: Ground Control Exhibition Launch
Where: Lobrow Gallery and Bar, above Beach Burrito Civic, 181 City Walk, Civic
How Much: Entry is free


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin is new to Canberra and is attempting to prove to her friends that the capital city can be cool. This mostly involves frequently going out for brunch and then posting about it on social media, along with trekking up hills and around art galleries. She is half way through her uni degree but spends most of her time reading, writing and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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