Stone, Water and Living Earth brings together several artists who have previously participated in Lines in the Sand, in the production and exhibition of new installation works, made for, and to be exhibited in Redland Art Gallery from May 7 to June 28, 2015.

This article contextualizes the project within the cultural agendas of the two organizations Redland Art Gallery and Lines in the Sand North Stradbroke Island Ltd., as well as speaking to the powerful language of contemporary art in addressing timeless notions of the elements and the reality of the living environment.

Rationale

Stone, Water and Living Earth explores the ways in which creative handling of materials can uniquely reveal aspects of the natural, elemental world. Artists invited to participate in this project will be familiar with this conceptual approach, having been previously involved with the Lines in the Sand Residency on North Stradbroke Island in previous years. The project proposed here offers the artists an opportunity to further explore concerns that began to evolve through those on-site experiences.

Lines in the Sand has developed over the last five years an artist in residency program on North Stradbroke Island, and forms a central part of the art and environment festivals of 2011- 2014. The success of the festival has urged us to consider other ways of bringing the works of festival participants to the wider community and into different contexts, thus allowing projects to evolve into more developed work, both benefiting artists and forging greater access to the wider community.

The theme of the elements offers artists and audience the opportunity to consider both the creative and destructive cycles of elemental forces. While Stradbroke Island has recently felt the impact of fire, and large tracts of Queensland, the force of water in recent years, enlisting the elements in the service of creative enterprise serves to highlight their positive power.

While focusing on the elements as the framing principle for the exhibition, openness to material approaches will be embraced. We envisage, therefore, that a unique coupling of new and traditional media will reveal equal potential to develop works within this thematic base.

Description of what the artworks are about

The theme of the works is circumscribed by the above rationale. Artists have been invited to participate on the basis of the ways in which they engage the elements within their material practices. Drawing upon the artists who have participated in residencies with Lines in the Sand, these works that involve earth - stone, clay, earth; water –represented through digital work; and air and fire – for example, the firing of clay, and the decomposition and oxidization of matter in air. Therefore, while the elements are primal, there is an intriguing contemporary aspect to their use within visual art. At this stage, we are able to provide a sense of the exhibition through presenting works of proposed artists.

Logistics

Four artists have been invited to participate in this project exhibiting in Gallery’s 2, 3 and 4.

Lines in the Sand North Stradbroke Island Ltd managed an art and environment festival on North Stradbroke Island in June 2011-2014. On the strength of this event, the organisation has recently established a commitment to projects and cultural partnerships on the mainland and at other times throughout the year. One focus of these projects is to offer further opportunities to creative practitioners who have been artists in residence during the June festival. In the form of public exhibitions, this initiative gives these artists an opportunity to extend the creative investigations carried out during the festival, reconceptualise their work in a very different cultural and physical space, and to bring them to a wider audience.

Stone, Water and Living Earth, a series of creative responses to the elemental environment, particularly North Stradbroke Island, through a range of contemporary and traditional idioms. The theme of the elements offers artists and audience the opportunity to consider both the creative and destructive cycles of elemental forces. The artists selected for this project have been considered for the range of responses and material diversity they bring to the theme, as well as the important creative contributions they have made to Lines in the Sand. Uniting the works, however, is the fact that each will be presented as an immersive installation. A further tier to the project is in form of a documentary survey of previous Lines in the Sand projects that engage with the theme.

Glenda Hobdell and Catherine Schoch work is with light, sound, moving image, shadow, human intervention and the drawn mark. The installation includes the original collaborative South Gorge projection work, made during the Lines in the Sand Festival, 2012, with the addition of drawing surfaces that simulate suggestions of place. A collaborative performance drawing is created at the opening event

Virginia Jones will work with clay and various mineral sands sourced from the island in an extension of work produced for Lines in the Sand, in 2012 and 2013. The works raise awareness of the earth as a mineral and organic body, but draw it into the open through the use of light, extracting a lustrous shimmer from the mineral. In the sealed setting of the installation, this effect pervades the room and senses.

Craig Tapp has been a vital contributor to Lines in the Sand in terms of his sand art, a key creative event at the festival. Of equal importance, as an indigenous Quandamooka man, he has been a source of knowledge and understanding of both local culture and environment. Craig Tapp’s contribution to the exhibition would be a floor work that uses local sands, made as a site-specific installation depicting marine animals of Quandmooka seas. The film work by Paul Bishop depicts the ephemerality of Tappy’s work as Quandmooka waters wash away coloured ochre from the sands of Minjerriba, North Stradbroke Island.

The documentary survey, in Gallery 5 and Foyer feature wall depict imagery drawn from the vast repository of photographic documentation and other ephemera generated by the festival over the past four years. A selection of these are printed and hung without frame, to convey a sense of the integration of visual culture and the environment, the key partnership that lies at the heart of the festival.

In 2011, Jo Kaspari Lines in the Sand Co-Director assisted Salt water Murris in securing project funding for their first screen printing project at the Dunwich Community Learning Centre. Like ocean waves on the shore lines, Salt Water Murris artist Belinda Close designed Lines in the Sand 2011 artwork which later became Festival flags. The posters of 2012, 13 and 14 are by Inkahoots Design Team.

Over two decades Inkahoots evolved from a collective of community artists, screenprinting political posters in a union basement, into a multi-disciplined design studio that continues to hustle for social change through visual communication. Innovative and effective communication for digital, print and environmental media is their forte. Inkahoots is creative collaboration and applied inspiration: Direct Design Action.

Each year the arts and environment forum, art walk and talk, artists in residence, nature art workshops, performance and projection happenings are all mapped onto poster back. Craig Tapp’s sand art pictured on the front of the 2012 poster, took place just days before the on island Native Title Determinations, July 4 2011. Tappy’s work embodies a sentiment behind which we all stand; it’s title being ‘Coming Together to Save Mother Earth’.

We are grateful for the enduring support, guidance and patronage of Uncle Bob Anderson.

Since its inception in 2011, Lines in the Sand Arts Festival has been an island community celebration, a showcase for local and regional artists, an agent for the revival of traditional crafts, a catalyst to explore and reach new ideas: an inclusive message of love for the environment.

We have successfully brought different people together. Islanders, visitors, artists, scientists, families, young and the old. The Festival promotes respect for the island's environment, peoples and culture. It has provided creative employment opportunities for locals. Delvene Cockatoo Collins writes ‘I wish every day could be a Lines in the Sand day – Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people together., as her contribution to the Wishing Tree workshop with artist Lisa Behan.

Over the four years of our Festival, some memorable highlights have been the first night-time projection into South Gorge; animating Mooloomba Reserve with light and soundscapes; screenings, forums and exhibitions at the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum; bringing the Queensland Theatre Company and QPAC production of Stradbroke Dreamtime to the island; Nature Art Workshops at the Point Lookout Hall; the island Short Film Premieres of Cameron Costello’s The Hunter, Quandamooka Dreaming stories by artist Sandra Delaney, The Salt Maiden produced by Beverley Callow, and also Something Amazing. In 2012 we published a 40-page publication, Culture+Country/Art+Ecology, and now in 2014 we have curated the Convolution exhibition at the Regional Arts Gallery, Cleveland.

All who have joined us be that artists, volunteers, community people, local businesses or funding bodies have helped to co-create events embedded in a rich ecology of ideas and collaborations, aligning themselves with moments of imagining, beauty and inspiration.

Social, economic and political changes affect culture and landscape. These dynamic forces are constantly evolving. And in the true spirit of ephemerality, we too are changing. In 2015 we offer a year round program of Nature Art Actions and wish the Quandamooka Festival July – September 2015 every success.

Stone, Water and Living Earth is a celebration of all who have invested in ideas, passion, wisdom, skill, curiosity, innovation, wonder and creative change, those who have connected with real stories locally and to shared globally through the digital world.




The program is edited by Jackie Cooper, Island environmental advocate.