by Claire Blennerhassett on various sustainability themes.
Claire’s exhibition will be running all week of the festival in Arts Centre Foyer. On Monday 1st November you will also get the opportunity to ‘meet the artist’ 3:00pm-4:00pm in the foyer.
I am a self-taught artist working out of a purpose-built garden studio. Alongside a career in academia, I took up painting, after submitting my PhD thesis (Nutrition) in 2018. Working mainly with oil paints, and initially on traditional surfaces (wooden panels/canvas), I now work mostly with recycled materials. My ideas have moved latterly towards art as installation. The transition of art from the white cube to the environment and engaging with the throwaway and detritus of its immediate environment adds context and invites us to reflect upon how we value art as an important commodity comparable with the critical discourse surrounding commercialisation and ecology that we are involved with globally today.
My work explores the concept of human-nature dualism in my analysis of climate change and food sustainability. This ideology puts humans apart from or superior to nature and is considered a driver of ecological destruction. This contrasts with early naturalist descriptions of Earth as a living organism with all of nature inextricably linked. Evidence of this is seen with the impact of deforestation to make way for livestock for human consumption. This is a major cause of biodiversity loss locally and temperature rises globally responsible unpredictable weather that threatens food production to meet the needs of current and future generations.
Despite the darkness of the narrative, I am cautious to avoid perpetuating feelings of hopelessness or blame, aspiring instead to generate feelings of optimism as there is growing global commitment towards sustainability. While COVID has had a catastrophic impact on the lives of billions of people, it has been a catalyst for change that has shown what can be achieved through collaborative efforts. My work brings together issues of food and environmental sustainability through the lens of companionship, relationships, and the interconnectedness of all life on Earth.