Performance artist Mark Shorter, aka Tino La Bamba, has travelled from Sydney to Lismore riding Platanito, or his little banana, as he affectionately calls his motorist bike.
Performance artist Mark Shorter, aka Tino La Bamba, has travelled from Sydney to Lismore riding Platanito, or his little banana, as he affectionately calls his motorist bike. David Nielsen

La Bamba blazes into town

WATCH out Lismore – the almost immortal Tino La Bamba has arrived in a blaze of skin-hugging blue lycra and is tearing up the streets on his motorised steed, Platanito.

La Bamba has ridden 859 blistering kilometres up the New England Highway from Sydney to partake in an upcoming exhibition at the Lismore Regional Gallery called I am the Message – and to impose himself on regional Australia in a performance piece beyond the realm of any usual artistic endurance.

“I have climbed the Great Dividing Range of this country and I am reborn with the spirit of Captain Thunderbolt,” he declared to bewildered pedestrians.

“I’ve ridden with the punks of Casino – and they know how to fly.

“I have cuddled caravan park owners all over this great land in my smelly suit; every patch, every stain reveals a memento of my journey.”

His grease-stained hands and chipped red nail polish support his tales.

Described as a ‘misfit against a regional Australian backdrop’, La Bamba’s journey provokes questions, cultural, practical and speculative.

Will the people of the bush accept this artistic experiment? Will La Bamba withstand the summer’s heat in his electric blue attire and the vibrations of his low-riding Platanito? Will he achieve the original aim of his journey, to reclaim his little brother’s honour – allegedly ‘lost to a Lismore football team’, though the details are somewhat sketchy.

“But now I have a mixed emotion, I am touched to the core,” he said.

“When a land imposes itself on a body like mine nothing is the same.”

La Bamba joins artists from all over the country, including Vanessa Wagner and Pope Alice, who use themselves as the concept, medium, and content of their work to turn the mirror back on us and ask us what we really think.

“I put out a challenge to the Pope Alice. Have you ridden the Great Dividing Range? To Vanessa, sure you can talk, but can you ride? And don’t think that’s an invitation to ride my Platanito.

La Bamba also has aninstallation at the Norco Artspace.

“It is a fun-booth. You stick your face against it and become someone else,” he said.

“I think some people in this town might like that.”

I am the Message officially opens at the Lismore Regional Gallery at 5.30pm this Friday and runs until February 13.



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