Lonnie Holley is renowned for his spontaneous and unpredictable live performances, which typically fuse various artistic forms, including music, visual art, and spoken word. Tonight he is performing with a ten-piece band, comprised of contemporary soul masters Mourning [A] BLKstar and guitarist Lee Bains III. The concert is part of the Art Gallery of NSW’s Volume festival.
Holley is introduced to the audience gathered in the gallery. We are told how Holley’s artistic journey began in a deeply personal manner. The grave markers of his sister’s two children, who died in a house fire, were the first art pieces he created. Distressed by the lack of grave markers, Holley carved tombstones from sandstone. Holley’s earlier works were primarily sculptural and assembled from found objects and recycled materials. His art practice has since evolved to include a wide range of mediums, including drawing, painting, photography, performance, and sound. Holley’s approach to art-making is deeply intuitive and improvisational, and tonight we are told that he will be making up the music that we hear on the spot. This concert will be different to the one that was held in Melbourne and will be different to the ones he performs when he visits Europe.
From the moment that Holley takes the stage, his presence radiates a magnetic energy that draws us into his musical world. The music is ethereal, weaving seamlessly through genres and textures. It’s a very special performance – a living, breathing testament to the transformative power of art in all its forms
Check out our gallery below.