WeAreTheWorldBlogfest: The Art of Change

Its the 24th monthly instalment of Are The World Blogfest and this is my contribution.

This week Canberra had its coldest day ever; the extremes of Climate Change are upon us and yet the right wing conservatives, our leaders, drag their dinosaur feet in accepting this fact and making necessary changes. But then, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the scientific data. That’s why I was intrigued by thefollowing article which describes how art and science can successfully merge to inspire us to make positive changes to our behaviour and appreciate and value Mother Earth.


Australian artworks on climate change to feature in international exhibition


Global warming is a big concept that can be hard to grasp, and it is easy to glaze over when confronted with a raft of scientific statistics about temperatures and predicted sea level rises.

Key Points

  • An international art-science exhibition called ‘Equilibrium’, will be held in Venice, Italy, in June, highlighting climate change and deforestation
  • NSW artist, Beric Henderson, and Melbourne-based art group, Skunk Control, have been invited to be part of the exhibition
  • It’s hoped the artworks will help raise conversations about climate change and possible solutions

Art, however, is a medium that is often more likely to engage people on an emotional level and international art exhibitions are increasingly focussing on environmental themes and climate change.

One of the latest is an art-science exhibition called ‘Equilibrium’, which will be held in Venice, Italy, in June.

It is been organised by Berlin-based curator, Mary Patricia Warming, and will feature the work of 18 international artists or groups, including two from Australia.

One of them is Beric Henderson, an artist who grew up in Sydney and is now based in Port Macquarie, on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

Mr Henderson’s involvement has been supported by a grant from the Regional Arts Fund NSW.

“The aim of the exhibition is really to educate people about the looming crisis in terms of the environment, in addition to global warming, and to address possible solutions,” he said.

“Trying to raise awareness and give people hope.

“I think the Equilibrium exhibition distinguishes itself, in that it involves input from actual scientists, engineers and ecologists.

“It’s a wide cross section of works, it includes installations, paintings and sculptures.”

Mr Henderson is submitting five paintings which are part of a ‘Tree of Man’ series.

“They show silhouettes of humans against a backdrop of vegetation and the human figures are embedded with life and nature,” he said.

“It’s about how I hope we will evolve to a point where our species is more in tune with nature, and it’s all about the connections with the environment.

“My background was as a research scientist for almost 30 years — that’s why there is often a strong science element in the work I produce.”

When science and art combine

The other Australian group invited to take part in the Venice exhibition is called ‘Skunk Control’, a team of university engineers and scientists based at Victoria University, in Melbourne.

Skunk Control creates large, eye-catching public art installations for festivals and events, which often incorporate light, sound and kinetic movement.

Founder, Nick Athanasiou, said they had found art to be a great way to communicate ideas, both to students and the public, and to engage people more in maths and science concepts.

“We found that not only were the community enjoying the art, but they now had questions, or rather sought out answers, as to how the art installations were made and how they operated,” he said.

“We managed to allow the public to enter through the doorway of art and come out through the science door.

“Similarly, we managed to bring those more aligned to science and get them to exit the art door.

“Both arts and science share the discovery process we believe, they prompt questions, they tackle you and they make you seek answers.”

Skunk Control has gained international attention since it formed in 2012 and Mr Athanasiou, said the team was delighted to have been invited to the Venice exhibition.

“It does mean a great deal, particularly as we have recently established ourselves and our backgrounds have been mainly in the science and engineering fields,” he said.

Skunk Control will exhibit two installations in Venice and Mr Athanasiou said one was essentially a large flower head that had an internal eco system, in constant change.

More art exhibitions focussing on climate change

Mr Henderson said prominent art exhibitions were increasingly focussing on environmental issues.

“The environment is a hot topic this year at the Biennale in Venice, with the overarching theme being ‘May you live in interesting times’,” he said.

“Here in Australia some upcoming art prizes including the Banyule Award for Works on Paper and the R.M. McGivern Prize for Painting, both in Victoria, are also strongly focused on the environment and climate change.”

The Venice ‘Equilibrium’ exhibition will open on June 1 at the Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello and the 58th Venice Biennale runs from May 11 to November 24.

Topics: regional, arts-and-entertainment, community-and-society,community-and-multicultural-festivals, environmental-policy, environmental-management,environmental-impact, environment, contemporary-art, port-macquarie-2444, brisbane-4000,sydney-2000, melbourne-3000

6 thoughts on “WeAreTheWorldBlogfest: The Art of Change

  1. Hi Kate – how very interesting … I was looking at art from African artists that the British are taking over the Venice Biennale … and almost wrote about them … I’d written about Kugali Comic Club founded by talented artists from 3 different African countries. So your link here from Australia over to the Venice Biennale reminds me – I’ve never been to the exhibitions in Venice.

    Beric Henderson’s art is drawn from his interests in life as a scientist and it looks like he has some amazingly interesting and thought provoking art to show the world. Climate change is here, but has always been – but we are in a position to help ourselves and thus the earth … let’s hope more do their best in looking after our planet. Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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