If you're on my mailing list, you will already have heard about how excited I was earlier this month to have my piece, "Sediments' Story" selected as a finalist for the 2018 Estuary Arts and Ecology Award. This week I finally had the opportunity to head over to Uxbridge Arts to check out the exhibition for myself. Seeing a piece of my work hanging on the walls of a gallery in the company of other beautiful and thought provoking works never grows old.
My vote for the people's choice award went to Michelle Farrell for "Restore Me said the Water". Michelle's elegant ink on paper "endeavours to illustrate that the natural cycles of the Tamaki Estuary have been broken due to the cumulative effect of environmental contamination" - artist's own statement.
God gave us a charge in Genesis to take care of His Creation; "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Genesis 2v15
I am embarrassed to admit that my awareness of the importance of being proactive with regard to this charge is relatively recent. If I'm honest, the enormity of the damage that we have done throughout creation always seemed overwhelming. I couldn't see how I could really make a difference. I suppose that one of the best things to come from social media is that we can feel much more connected to corporate action and the difference that we can make collectively.
"I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples" Mother Theresa.
Social media has enabled us to be so much more aware of the ripples that we are each making - how the ripples of many join to make waves that can have real positive impact. How cool is that!
The Estuary Art and Ecology Prize is "The only contemporary art prize in Aotearoa New Zealand with ecology at its core."
The opportunity to use my creative expression to draw attention to the importance of taking care of our land and, in this specific case, the Tamaki Estuary was exciting to me. Since I started to create art, I have felt a heightened awareness of the world around me. As if, by fully embracing my creativity, I am somehow more in tune with what my creator made for me to enjoy.
It was fascinating to research the Estuary in preparation. The work was inspired by a series of drill core sample analyses from the bed of the Tamaki Estuary. I have long been a bit of a geology nerd and am drawn to the secrets hidden in the ground beneath our feet, so the story that these core samples told fascinated me.
An excerpt from my Artist's Statement:
"The layers of sediment extending deep below the Tamaki Estuary tell of the lush landscape that was once there. Deep down are compacted sediments, rich in organic matter from dense forest. Volcanic activity is marked by more brightly coloured layers of ash.
Man arrived and little changed for a while. Until European settlers, excited by the fertile land, started to clear large swathes for farming. This time is told in the Sediments' Story by the deposit of much thicker layers of soils, washed from land once protected by dense vegetation. The waters feeding into the estuary are the mode of transport for all of this sediment. Their significance to the local people is represented by a wave design, based on traditional Maori designs."
If you are in the Auckland area, the exhibition of finalists of the Estuary Arts and Ecology Prize will be on display at Uxbridge Arts until 19 August. It is well worth a visit. "Each of the artists have focused on different aspects of the Estuary and have approached artmaking in a variety of ways, contributing distinct perspectives and experiences." - Anna van den Berg