SIAHNE Rogers sifts through the detritus of her grandfather’s doomed burger empire, Fast Eddy’s, in the exhibition Hatched.
Fast Eddy’s was Perth’s first 24 hour fast food restaurant and opened to much fanfare in 1979 on the corner of Hay and Milligan Streets.
It soon became home to a diverse and colourful cast of characters including ravenous brothel, nightclub and shift workers.
Rogers’ grandfather, Ern Galloway, took over the restaurant in the 1990s and opened more franchises in WA and expanded into other states, but in 2002 the company went into receivership and most of the WA stores were sold.
In 2018 Mr Galloway died, and a year later the last Fast Eddy’s in the Perth CBD closed down after 41 years in business, prompting Rogers to reflect on the burger dynasty.
“A huge part of my childhood was growing up in and around Fast Eddy’s,” she says.
“My family worked very closely within the business, and there were many days as a child where me and my sisters would be hanging out in one of the restaurants, colouring in the latest activity sheets for kids, climbing on too many chairs in precarious ways…
“I knew my grandfather very well and continued to spend a lot of time around him, right through to my adult years and his passing in 2018.
“Because of this, there has been this space for reflection on how his life played out both as great grandfather to me and relatives, but also a serious business person and the lifestyle that comes with that during the days of success with Fast Eddy’s and after.”
Incorporating memorabilia from the restaurant and tongue-in-cheek references to the fall of the Roman empire, Rogers uses pathos and humour to poke fun at consumerism and capitalism.
“The point of departure for my work came from reflecting on my grandfather’s life (in particular, running Fast Eddy’s and growing up around that as a kid) and responding to the themes that came up for me during that process,” Rogers says.
“It lead me to think further about failure, success, status, and futility, how they are influenced by pre-existing ideology, and how that is navigated through lived experiences.
“My response to this was underpinned by my interest in how these themes are explored .through the archetypes of humour and slapstick, developing a visual language that helped me articulate my own personal reflection to both my grandfather’s story and the themes explored within that.”
The 28-year-old works in a variety of mediums and says she is inspired by artists like Shana Moulton, who is based in New York and develops her work around a narrative.
Rogers, a Curtin uni graduate, is one of 24 emerging visual artists featured in the exhibition Hatched, which showcases work by newly graduated artists from across Australia.
The exhibition in on at PICA gallery in Northbridge until October 18.
By STEPHEN POLLOCK