Thursday 9 February 2012

a green fine art fling

I volunteer once a month at the lovely SH Ervin Gallery in Observatory Hill; the current exhibition features the magnificent landscape paintings of Elisabeth Cummings.

Elisabeth Cummings, Edge of the Simpson Desert, 2011, c/o SH Ervin Gallery

Cummings is part of the Wedderburn artist community in Western Sydney, and she and fellow Wedderburnian John Peart spoke at a public program at the gallery this past Sunday.  I was excited to listen to her speak because I'd admired her work throughout this exhibition and previous shows.  I was even more interested when I heard that she and Peart had previously been involved in environmental activism in their Wedderburn artist community - don't you just love it when your worlds collide?

Cummings and Peart had been involved in protecting the natural landscape of the area from overdevelopment and mining, and for a time used their art as a means of expressing themselves in addition to more 'typical' environmental activists activities like arranging petitions, speaking at council meetings and organising the wider community to work together to protect their local natural landscape.  As recently as 2007 they were among artists featured in an exhibition the Cambelltown Arts Centre called Grounded: Art, Activism, Environment.

Now in their 'twilight years', both Cummings and Peart are hoping the younger generation will take the reigns on activism.  I suspect with the likes of AYCC, Greenpeace and other grassroots groups this won't be a problem.

What a fantastic reminder that you can get involved in environmental activism through many different channels - everyone can be a greenie!

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