Back in April this year Moyne Shire’s Youth Development Officer Geraldine Edar asked if I would work on a mosaic project organised by her Youth Councillors. The location of the project was in South West Victoria’s Hawkesdale, a small community with a P-12 School, Shop, Church, Pub and Hall. I spent a couple of weeks in consultation with the interested parties and drew from existing drawings (from the Youth Council run design competition) to create a design that reflected aspects of the Hawkesdale environment. The finished work will be installed next to the Memorial Hall. It has four panels of three different dimensions. I began construction in May and have worked steadily on this project until it was finally completed yesterday. Students also contributed to this creation in a number of ways, including smashing the tiles which they thought was a blast!
It has been a massive task to bring this work to completion and I was glad to apply the file coat of sealer to the grout yesterday!! The Panels will be installed in the next fortnight and the concluded art work will be opened at 12:30pm Wednesday 18th of September. Quite a few Hawkesdale locals have commented on the work through its production, all with really positive things to say- which gives me the feeling that they will be happy to have it in the centre of town 🙂 I drive through Hawkesdale about once a year with my family on our way through to the Grampians, it will be nice to a creative connection to the place as we go through….
Here’s a look at the works in progress…. the above panels dimensions are 180cm x 120cm, the big mama’s below are 240cm x 180cm
YOU CAN CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM…
These final panels are the babies, both are 120cm x 90cm
I have been working in conjunction with students from Hawkesdale College on a project initiated by the Youth Council (run through the Moyne Shire). My involvement in this project began in May. I have been busy designing, constructing & mosaicking since…. Each week students from the college have contributed to the production in a number of ways, in the past few weeks they have finally been able to join in the laying of tiles as well.
There are four panels in total that will make up the finished artwork. The image above is of the largest one (click to enlarge)… so far things are looking good 🙂
Our Kitchen Table Art Expedition takes a great deal of inspiration from Eugene von Guerard. This Colonial artist made several trips through South West Victoria through what is now called the Kanawinka Geopark that spans from near Geelong to Mt Gambier. This is a volcanic landscape that has rich history and soil.
Our project started in May with our visit to von Guerard’s masterpiece Tower Hill at the Warrnambool Art Gallery, painted in 1855. Later that same decade he trekked to Mt Eccles and undertook drawing studies there as well. With this in mind we made our second expedition outside Macarthur to Mt Eccles. (You can get a better look at Eugene’s work by clicking on the image above to enlarge it)
We started at the top look out where the Explorers used drawings and iPads to record the environment. Breaking up into our Expedition Parties we made our way around the crater and down into the cave were our explorers observed the effect of darkness on their eyes as well as the sounds and smells inside the earth.
We were “blessed” with rain for most of our expedition but under the strong leadership of Mrs Lyles we still ventured on to the camping ground where the explorers we asked to find a solitary spot to contemplate Mt Eccles- without chattering, to listen, look, smell and wonder…..
This wonderfully wet day of exploration provides us with the source for our next five weeks of work. I have begun my time with my next group: the Light Expedition Party. I am very interested to see what things we discover about our environment together…..
We’ve already noted how overcast days diffuse the light making shadows almost non-existent and how light rain seems to smudge light causing a loss of visual detail as the landscape recedes….
…… and on my way out of Macarthur I was met with a huge Rainbow, as if to mark the start of this new round of inquiry working with the Light Expedition Party over the next 5 weeks 🙂
One of the really exciting parts of the Kitchen Table Art Expedition is the creation of the Light Chamber Observatory….. This structure will be built at the end of Macarthur Primary School’s Kitchen Garden. It is a “child centred” design that includes bench seating, a blackboard and the real treat: a coloured Perspex atrium!! It will also include observation equipment like a thermometer, rain gauge and weather vain. Each of the three expedition parties will make a set of permanent sculptures which will be used to decorate areas of it. We will also take a digital photograph of a drawing/painting by each explorer which will be turned into a transparent sticker and then adhered to the Perspex to create a stained glass window effect- it will look pretty amazing!
We have been working in collaboration with the Macarthur Men’s Shed to organise the construction. We will use as much recycled materials as possible in the building, this is for environmental and economic reasons but mostly because we this that a collage of materials- corrugated iron, timber etc- will contrast with the bright Perspex to make a really intriguing space for the children. We have already had our roof donated by one of the Men’s Shed members, an old corrugated tank cut to size…
The initial design is picture at the bottom right of the above image (you can click on it to enlarge the view), over the last few weeks I have undertaken a re-design process in line with the Light Chamber Observatory’s evolution. The large image above is the final form that it will take…. construction begins in July for a September completion…..
I have been developing the Kitchen Table Art Expedition with Macarthur Primary School for about two years. Last December we were successful in our bid to be one of Arts Victoria’s 18 Artist In Schools Project. After much anticipation we began our project in early May this term. The project involves students from grades 4, 5, & 6 of Macarthur Primary which is a tiny primary school in the country town of Macarthur. It is a beautiful school with a great sense of community, bright students and great teachers- I have been having a blast working with them each Thursday.
The Kitchen Table Art Expedition is HUGE! (Getting it off to a good start has taken a lot of time hence this belated post!). We use Colonial Artist Eugene von Guerard as our conceptual starting point, his understanding and explorations of Australia’s ecology provide a great metaphor for our examination of interconnectivity.
The project works on the theme of “parts into the whole” and is fittingly made up of four sub-projects that will culminate in our final event in September. The sub-projects are:
The Light Chamber Observatory, a sensory tunnel being built at the school’s kitchen garden with the help of Macarthur’s Mens Shed. It will combine recycled materials with a coloured Perspex roof and the students artwork.
Notes from the Field This is a video Project wherein the explorer students examine their environments through film.
Gaia is Symbiosis as seen from Earth This is an amazing project where we attach a video camera to a helium filled weather balloon and launch it into the stratosphere- we the retrieve it with the help of a parachute and a GPS
Gesamtkunstkwerk We are borrowing this German term to describe our multi-artform extravagant finale. We will combine a kitchen garden feast with the premiere of the expedition films, the unveiling of Light Chamber Observatory, ephemeral sculptures and an exhibition of the student artwork….
The students have been divided into three Expedition Parties, each exploring a theme of Light, Space or Earth. Each group rotates through five week long programs in the different mediums of Painting & Drawing, Sculpture & Installation, and New Media. Each group gets to experience each medium over the course of the project. We have just finished our first five week program- it has been educational and exciting.
This is my space for talking about the what I do as a Participatory Arts Practitioner…. This is a core part of what I have done with my time since 2001. My passion is developing unique programs and projects that give community members a positive way to be engaged in their environments. The idea is that through coming together as a group and using our hands to make meaningful art we invest ourselves in our shared reality and often raise our sense of personal and communal well-being in the process.
I am guided by my core research that views a person as an embodied consciousness in continual interaction and overlap with their physical, psychological and social environment. Over the years I have identified concepts that support and guide my practice:
Social Model of Health
Through my Community and Participatory Art Practice I promote opportunities for self-empowerment…. and we have so much fun!