Animal Crackers

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Aly Aitken, Bruce Armstrong, Paul Compton, Kirsty Fletcher, Johnny Young


Satellite Projects’ newest exhibition Animal Crackers brings together the work of five contemporary artists, who each explore, in their own way, the relationship between humans and animals.

Reusing and reimagining, Johnny Young (Eastern Arrernte man from Ltyentye Apurte NT) recontextualises the traditional indigenous bush toy. Creating small wire, metal, and salvaged object sculptures of animals he draws upon his childhood memories of playing with kangaroo and cowboy toys at the cattle station where his uncle worked.

Also using salvaged materials, Kirsty Fletcher’s reclaimed cardboard Met cards and beer cartons are transformed into toy sized creatures. Inspired by the children’s story “Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen, Fletcher’s two young children, during COVID lockdown, set about their own year-long search for bears.  Some engaging research was conducted, and a lot of fun was had but no bears were actually found.  Fletcher’s playful bears remind us of the important role animals play in the lives of children, along with the message that many are becoming increasingly vulnerable to extinction.

Aly Aitken’s assemblages and sculptural pieces also evoke a certain vulnerability.  Taking a more interior perspective, Aitken draws the viewer into a dark, mysterious, and unsettling place. The Mouseketeer, by title suggests a Disney-land world of playgrounds, colour and movement, yet this Mouseketeer is drab… it has no arms to wave hello, no eyes, no voice.  It is isolated and alone.  Through this macabre world of oddities, Aitken explores the animal in all of us. 

Paul Compton shares Aitken’s interest in oddities and the macabre. Taking inspiration from Victorian-era spiritualism, magic rituals, animals, and religious iconography Compton’s drawings focus on animals in the spiritual realm.  His delicate ink drawings in black and white allude to ghosts and the dead, while Memento Vitae Flag reminds us to always remember life.

Spiritual and mythological animals have been a lifelong obsession for acclaimed sculptor Bruce Armstrong. Carved from reclaimed wood, using chisel and chainsaw, Armstrong’s animals look solid and rugged yet there is a gentleness about them. His monumental sculpture “Eagle” on Wurundjeri Way, in Melbourne’s Docklands, is one of Armstrong’s most iconic works.  The sculptures in this exhibition are made in bronze, cast from their original wooden maquettes, which are retained by the artist.

Each of us have a different experience, story and relationship with the animals around us, however Animal Crackers provides a platform for the contemplation of another point of view. Exposing a variety of different perspectives, we urge you to consider what relationship you have with the animals in your life, while considering their place in this ever-changing world.

Duration: March 1, 2022 until April 5, 2022. THIS EXHIBITION HAS ENDED

Location: Castan Chambers (private viewing by appointment only. Please get in touch )

For more details about the exhibiting artists: Aly Aitken, Bruce Armstrong, Paul Compton, Kirsty Fletcher, Johnny Young