Don Binney

Sadly on 14th September 2012, this well-known New Zealand artist passed away.

He had a special connection with the land & was able to depict this beautifully in his work.

The Diversion Gallery wrote this about Binney:

Don Binney needs little introduction to art lovers – or the New Zealand public – so distinctive are his iconic paintings and drawings of birds and landforms. In a career spanning more than 40 years, his commitment to ornithology, environmental issues and spiritual connection with the land has driven his art practice. (sourced from here)

And these pieces are from a story on Stuff.co.nz that was written remembering the artists life after he had passed away.

“Judy Hanbury said Binney’s love of the environment was rooted in his boyhood. He saw his first shining cuckoo in Kohimarama and never lost the joy of hearing the first one of spring.

That love would feed into his conservation efforts that saw him engage with many trusts dedicated to protecting New Zealand’s flora and fauna.” (Source: Stuff)

View some of his paintings here.

Bill Hammond

Bill Hammond is one of my personal favourite New Zealand artists.

And continuing to a simliar thread as the last post, some of Hammonds work also comments on human interaction with the birds & environment of this land.

One of the common themes in his paintings are the half animal/human creatures with avian heads and human limbs. They have quite an Egyptian look to them.

One website biography on Hammond said this:

‘Hammond’s work tackles social and environmental issues, conveying messages about humanity and its status as an endangered species.’ (source: Biography)

Endangerment: he looked back into New Zealand’s environmental history for his subject matter, drawing inspiration from the studies of Sir Walter Buller. The Buller paintings show us some of the ways in which birds have been forced to relate to us.

Birdlife: These works came about after Hammond returned from a trip to the remote Auckland Islands, where there are no people and birds still rule. (source: wikipedia)

(Photo: drift.net.nz )

Nigel Brown

One website that I found in my search said this about Brown:

Nigel Brown is acknowledged as a leading narrative artist whose distinctive works use a blend of symbolic and expressionistic approaches to voice deep social concern. Employing history, literature and politics as devices to draw attention to individual and environmental issues Nigel Brown conveys emotional and intuitive sympathy within the confines of the works in an accurate and incisive reading of the human condition.’ (sourced from here)

And another said this:

‘Ultimately, Brown is tilling our history and telling who we are (becoming) through our deeds. He reminds us again and again that everything is interconnected – the environment, the dreams of aspiration, the passage of time etc. He uses words as narrative devices, as architectural monuments and (ultimately) emblematically.’ (sourced from here)

Some of his pieces confront us about our effects on our country & the earth.

One painting called ‘We are water’ 2009 states: “Eh river we are sorry, we are largely water. If we don’t respect it, what do we respect? If we abuse rivers, we abuse ourselves.” (view painting here)

In another series called ‘Short Lives of Birds‘ one painting named’ Let’s Come to Terms With Birds’ says: “Let’s come to terms with birds, facing their extinction and our own. Mindful of our own purpose driven fate changing with the weather.”

Political posters by New Zealand street artist ‘Toothfish’

Toothfish-warAnti-capitalist posters by a New Zealand street artist have popped up in 35 countries around the world.

He goes by the name Toothfish and says like the endangered species he’d prefer to remain inconspicuous to save himself from mankind.

“Art itself is either undervalued or overvalued,” he says. “The value systems on this planet seem skewed and wrong and Toothfish is using art to attack some of these value systems.”

Toothfish is an eco-artist and international poster project who raises awareness of environmental/political issues by producing posters which are distributed internationally in both the real and virtual worlds.

Read more & see a video interview with Toothfish here. Above picture by Toothfish & sourced from here.

Art and conservation

The following few links covers art in New Zealand and a few from some other countries that touch on issues of the environment and conservation.

The Kermadec exhibition Wakey, Wakey, Wakey opened on 4th October at Wellington’s City Gallery and is on until February.

This exhibition consists of work from nine artists: Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, Jason O’Hara, John Pule, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson and Robin White, who were selected to visit the Kermadecs in 2011 because of their connection to the Pacific, through art, ancestry, upbringing and everyday life.

“Wakey Wakey Wakey is calling on New Zealanders to wake up to the Kermadecs – it’s a unique, awe-inspiring place that New Zealand is responsible for. We want more people to know about it and feel connected to it,” John Reynolds. Read more of this article here:Exhibition’s marine wakeup call for Kiwis – Wellington exhibit puts sanctuary in spotlight

For more information check out the Wellington city art gallery website and the official Kermadec site www.thekermadecs.org

(above Wakey Wakey Wakey image from The Kermadecs facebook page)

Wild Creations Artists in residence programme is the Department of Conservation’s Artists in Residence programme, run in partnership with Creative New Zealand.

It gives New Zealand artists the chance to spend six weeks in natural or historical sites to experience the people, stories and challenges of the site, and draw inspiration from their surroundings to use in their work.

Check out some of the previous artists and the galleries of their work during their Wild Creation experience here

TWEET ME    “An interactive exhibit giving our birds a voice and bringing the forest back to life.”

Created by Tanya Marriott in response to her 2006 Creative NZ/DOC Wild creations residency at Maud Island wildlife reserve.

It has recently become a finalist in the New Zealand Best Awards in the Spatial Design section.

Watch this video to learn more about it.

Image sourced from here

And from further afield in Canada is the Artists for Conservation Festival 2012, Oct. 13-21 at North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain.

It is a festival showcasing the world’s leading wildlife artists as well as bringing a unique perspective to some of the day’s most topical environmental issues.

Read more here.