Monday, March 3, 2008

Art And Conservation

While I am sometimes skeptical about the way everyone is jumping on the 'green/sustainability/environmentally-aware' bandwagon, I do like the sound of this art project - in October last year ten New Zealand artists from mixed disciplines - from musical composition, poetry and film-making to jewellery and the visual arts - were packed off on the conservation yacht, Breaksea Girl to spend six days and nights in deepest, darkest, remotest western Fiordland at the bottom of the South Island. Breaksea Girl is owned by Lance and Ruth Shaw, both active conservationists, who run their eco-tourism business, Fiordland Ecology Holidays (, from their Doubtful Sound base. This inspired project has borne fruit in a new exhibition by one of the participants, Dunedin-based artist-writer, Claire Beynon, whose show at The Arthouse, Christchurch, FATHOM, ( March 5-March 23) is a direct response to Fiordland's dramatic and unique environment. I'm looking forward to seeing the show, although in some ways, it's a pity it isn't a group show of all participants - seeing all ten responses to that amazing environment in one place at one time would make for something truly unique. Maybe it will happen? In the meantime, we can only hope that whoever organised this brilliant 'waterborne residency' will make a habit of thinking this creatively and this laterally. There are so many ways of getting more from both art and tourism.

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