Nephelokokkygia – Installation view at Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne. Works by Michele Grimston (left), Helen Seiver (front and right), and Claire Pendrigh (back)
I, and my work, have just arrived back in Tasmania after a trip to the big island. It began as the seed of an idea in 2017 when I discovered that amazing artists (and close friends) Helen Seiver and Michele Grimston were also making art about the nuances of the atmosphere and our complex relationship to the weather. From there, the idea grew into an exhibition.
After the opening, I took a road trip to some parts of Australia I’d never been to before. I drove from Melbourne to Alice Springs with plenty of stops and side trips along the way, enjoying a big sky perfect for cloud spotting.
Environmental activism can often take the form of social disobedience – wether that be through protests, or simply by bucking consumerist trends to live in a more sustainable way. We want to transplant this activism into the gallery space.
This project coincides with Bunbury Regional Art Galleries’ exhibition of Bimblebox – Art – Science – Nature, a touring show examining a nature reserve in Queensland under threat from coal mining. Seeing parallels with Bunbury’s current environmental concerns, the Bunbury Against Coal Exports Campaign suggested that we work together to create our own exhibition exploring art and environmental activism and how the arts can provide a voice for change.
Donna Fortescue, Suzuki Tree Suitcase (detail), Mixed media
Connecting our ideals
Transplanting Disobedience is an exhibition of artworks, documents, press clippings, video, sound bites, objects and more. Each of these elements has a story to tell about environmental activism in Bunbury and the South West.
The elements on display are connected together in an ecosystem of ideas, ideals, thoughts and aspirations. On strips of old bed sheets, we wrote or drew our environmental concerns, changes we want to see or make and our dreams and hopes for our environment and community. These strips were turned into string which physically connects the elements on display in the exhibition like the invisible stuff that holds together a community or an ecosystem.
The whole exhibition is documented on our archive blog where you can view each artwork and find out more about the artists. The exhibition space also includes QR codes with each artwork which link through to the online information.
The Next Step
There is exciting news on the horizon as this project grows into its next phase, Artists at the Helm, in which artists will create artworks about one specific location, Helms Block, which is currently under threat.
I’m honoured to have been able to work with my good friend Helen Seiver in coordinating and pulling together this project!
Transplanting Disobedience is coordinated by artists Helen Seiver and Claire Pendrigh with Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, Bunbury Against Coal Exports Campaign and Friends of the Earth South West.
I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful share house with white walls and an abundance of picture hangers! We have an enormous back yard with soft lawn and a back porch. I have always wanted to host a house exhibition, and my house mate saw the possibilities of the back yard for a concert. Combining these two ideas, we ended up with “Here and Now”; a house exhibition and backyard concert, celebrating the place that we are (here) and the time we are in (now).
Claire Pendrigh, Daniel Macnish, Helen Seiver, Daniel Kus, Amber Harries