The whirlwind of data and opinion surrounding climate change can be overwhelming; how do we form something meaningful and informative out of all of the figures, news, opinions and anxiety surrounding this topic?
Art connects us to the problem in a felt way, it encourages engagement, deep thinking, problem-solving and questioning.
The title of this exhibition (1.5 Degrees) comes from the challenge of the global community to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees (above pre-industrial levels). It is about the science of climate change, communicated in diverse and intriguing ways.
17 Artist from across Australia explore our relationship to the planet, through explorations of the juncture between science and art, and the very human response to the looming threat of climate change.
LANA DE JAGER-Unsettled
I want to hide from the ever more dreadful news of how humans are impacting on the earth, but I also know that looking away at this moment in history would be infantile. In the name of progress we have done things we can never take back, but simultaneously our survival from this point onwards depends on us looking it straight in the eye.
Nature has become a branded, advertised and commodified ‘product’. Surely weirdness is going on when nature is being trademarked and patented! Human impact has never been presented as clearly as by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.
During a residency in Mildura, I drove into the dry areas for research. I found plants that grow in areas that are, apparently, not compatible with life, yet these little legends thrive under the harshest elements and create havens for other life, like insects. These resilient plants need nearly nothing to survive but humans take so much that even that little bit might be gone soon, too. I imagined what the future might look like – when these tough legends of nature have survived climate change. These tough fauna and flora might become monuments to things our civilisation has ‘lost’, in similar ways we build statues to soldiers who have given their lives ‘for us’. In this way, maybe a modest knoll of grass can become an enormous icon, like the great Australian roadside attractions: the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour or the Big Merino in Goulburn.
I make drawings and transfer them to a metal-backed photopolymer etching plate. These plates are used for traditional intaglio print making. Each fine art print is made by hand, incorporating centuries old techniques, like chine-collé or a la poupée – with a huge variety or results. It is an ever evolving and endlessly creative way of making art.
It took me 25 years (while working as a graphic designer) to feel ready for making art full-time. I did not think it was as ‘useful’ as I could be in the world, meaning that I was too afraid to follow the thing that I yearned for the most. When our family suffered 3 losses of significant people in a 22 month period, I had a crisis of existence. In this makeshift moment in my life, I turned to art.
The original themes were (naturally) around loss and grief.
Next, I tackled the cultural pressures I grew up with. Conversations with my girlfriends about how women should act, what wives are expected to do or why we feel pressure to become mothers in a world where there are too many people already – these conversations fuelled a series of works where a small women is carrying a huge weight. These considered the mental health of women in our shared multi-culture.
Since May 2019 I’ve been visualising ideas around climate change, trying to process all the terrible news we are facing with regards to our impact on the earth.
ART AVISO PROFILE