Since the 1960's artists from all corners of the earth have been engaged in activist, collaborative and ecological aesthetics. A brief list includes: Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, Mary Miss, Betsy Damon, Basia Irland, Navjot Altaf, Patricia Johanson, Susan Jennings, Jaanika Peerna, Maya Lin and Simon Starling. Museums such as the Hudson River Museum and the Indianapolis Museum of Art's FLOW White River Festival celebrate and point to the need to protect waterways. Was it last year that the city of Boulder, CO celebrated their Ditches throughout the community including works by 40 local artists? (Note that you can click on names to learn more).
Reading a recent blog by book artist Mia Leijonstedt I learned about Lee Tracy and her World Rivers Project. Participants around the world have taken lengths of white cloth and dipped them into rivers. These are dried and sent back to the artist who embroiders the names of the rivers on them then sews them into a continuous curtain. Having developed a taste for working with fibers since attending two workshops with India Flint my studio contains a lot of textiles.
|This is the house that Rachel Carson built near this watershed, and where she wrote Silent Spring. I took the picture at one of their annual open houses. Her work in calling attention to the deleterious effects of DDT was an act of incredible courage and perseverance during an era when industries prevailed over the rights of individuals and communities. The Rachel Carson Council continues her mission at the house today disseminating information about toxins and sustainable alternatives for a healthy world.|
|A piece of linen was placed in the stream and allowed to float and soak.|
|If you look closely you can see ice melting under the roots of some trees.|
|Here is a book that I made sometime ago inspired by another river, the Mino or Minho of Spain and Portugal.|
The name of the river is derived from minius or red lead. The pages are monoprints and collage.
|Because this blog is about art and education I included this sample work. I was teaching a high school class about content and this was the exemplar that I created. Students selected a painting and then reproduced the composition using recycled papers. Here we see the birth of a very different sort of Venus rising out of a polluted ocean. |
Developing art curriculum that allows students to go out of doors and develop a sense of stewardship is critical if we hope to have a world where not just the privileged will have the basic necessities of clean water and air.