MEGGS | Own worst enemy

Australia 1978

Own worst enemy 2008
sheet 76.0 (h) x 56.0 (w) cm
Acquired with the support of Calypso Mary Efkarpidis
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2010.519
© Meggs


Meggs has been an active member of Melbourne’s street art scene since 2003.  Rather than focussing on political themes like many of his fellow stencil artists, Meggs takes inspiration from cartoons, comics and science-fiction imagery to explore ideas of the power and vulnerability of human character.

The congested speech bubble in Own worst enemy is literally exploding with childhood nostalgia.  Masked superheros from the 1980s wrestle energetically, whilst fantastic comic book and video game characters plot against each other.  But is this all-in brawl a momentous battle between good and evil?  Or does each character have their own demons to fight? 

Meggs’ work subverts heroic ideals, combining provocative text and graphic imagery to expose the inner turmoil of his characters.  But his characters act as a metaphor for the human condition.  The title of this work, hidden amongst the mess of figures, refers to the term ‘you are your own worst enemy’ which suggests that personal fears stand in the way of individual success.  Meggs’ message is one of affirmation; follow your dreams and don’t let your doubts get in your way.

A member of the Everfresh street art collective since 2004, Meggs has successfully traversed the gap from street to gallery wall.  Own worst enemy was exhibited in Meggs’ gallery show of the same name in 2008. 

Trish Kevin

Street by Lister

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