Its been a very busy and exciting time since I last updated my blog.
My proposal was accepted by the management of Karura Forest, one of the few safe, green spaces in Nairobi. They want to use my piece as part of their anti plastic campaign. Kenya banned all single use plastic bags from the 28th August, and the timing was perfect.
Below are extracts of my proposal.
From the day of the acceptance, I had exactly one week to build and deliver my archway. This included getting the metal framework made for me. Luckily I have a good relationship with the metal fabricator, as I give him a lot of work, and I he was able to deliver at very short notice.
I have submitted my proposal to the school for approval, but so far I have not had a reply. I am running out of time, so started to look into my other option of the forest.
I have found a waste management company in Nairobi, that does recycling. I have written to them about the possibility of setting up collection points for recycled material at the forest. I have also written to the management of the forest to ask about displaying my sculpture there, and ask if they would be interested in setting up a recycling collection point. I am excited about the idea of actually bringing about a positive change with my project.
At this point I think the option of the archway of waste is the best option, as this is something walkers in the forest could walk through on the way to their walks. I could display posters with information in the same area.
The title that I like best at the moment is “What we Leave Behind“. This could not only address the need for recycling, but could touch on the problem of litter, which is a huge issue here in Kenya.
Researching art made from recycled material, has lead me to discover some interesting artists, all who work with environmental issues in mind.
Guerra de la Paz
This Cuban born duo, consisting of Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz, have collaborated for the past 20 years. Their work addresses the human footprint and environmental issues. They explore themes of cultural and historic importance.
Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector
These American artists have been collaborating since 2006. They work on site specific installations, public art commissions and performance art or happenings. They have used bicycle parts in many sculptures, but claim these works do not have an overtly political meaning.
Tony Cragg is a British Sculptor, who is constantly exploring the relationship of people to the material world with his work. He works with many different materials, but it is his work using found objects that interest me the most for the purpose of this project.
Chris Jordan is an American artist and photographer. his work highlights the problems of mass consumerism and peoples unconscious habits and there possible consequences. His images from a series of photos called Midway: Message from the Gyre, 2009, went viral, and brought everyone’s attention to the pollution of our oceans.
During my research, I discovered the artist Mary Mattingly. She is a New York based visual artist, who strives to create non violent art. With her work she highlights social problems from food production, consumption, supply chains, slave labour, landfills and war.
In her manifesto she states:
A Utopian Turn – Manifesto for a Nonviolent Art
In every way, shape, and form, we are at war. A Manifesto for Nonviolent Art proclaims that art and utopian thought can cultivate systemic social change. Art can transform people’s perceptions about value, and collective art forms can reframe predominant ideologies.
In her collaborative work, Swale 2016, she created a floating orchard on a barge which is situated on the East River in New York. The barge is planted with vegetables and fruits which can be picked by members of the community for free and educational programme’s are provided. It challenges New York’s connection to the environment and advocates for change to New York’s public land laws.
In Kenya, where I live, there is no municipal waste collection. Only the privileged can afford private garbage collection. This means that in the poorer areas, there are piles of rotting garbage everywhere. There is also no organised recycling programmes, and one really needs to make an effort to seek out recycling collection points.
At a time when there is a growing awareness of environmental issues and the problem of waste, Kenya has finally introduced a ban on single use plastic bags, which will be in effect later this year, however litter and waste will continue to be an issue.
I recycle what I can here, and I am often astounded by how much waste my family of six generate.
I would like to create something to raise awareness of the importance of reducing, and recycling.
In this Blog, I will trace the progress of my ideas for a site specific art piece, from the very first ideas, to the completion of the project.
My first thoughts were to go with something safe, something I know…. so I thought about a collaborative mosaic. The site would be a particular area in the cafeteria at the international school my son attends. Groups of children from the school, could work on their own small mosaics, or paint a ceramic tile, and these would all be put together in a panel, or strip, depending on the agreed position. I am a mosaic artist and teacher, and I have worked on a collaborative mosaic before with a group of women for a local school.
Although, this project is something that might still happen, I realised that it would not be appropriate for this project due to time frame limitations. The summer holidays meant that there would not be enough time to complete the project before my submission date.