Opening at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery on Friday, February 13, are three exhibitions offering thought provoking perspectives on our relationship with the land. The centrepiece is a nine metre dinner table made entirely of salt. The Last Supper (detail) is a monumental sculpture created by Ken and Julia Yonetani, during a two month residency at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre last year. The artists live in the Blue Mountains and since 2009 have collaborated on a series of projects responding to environmental concerns.
Food production, rising levels of salinity and associated environmental issues are interwoven themes of The Last Supper. Up to 90% of Australia’s fresh food is produced in the Murray-Darling Basin, but 550,000 tonnes of salt are pumped out of the ground every year in an effort to stem the rise of highly saline groundwater. Soil salinity associated with irrigation has been a problem since ancient times, as the people of Mesopotamia discovered 4000 years ago.
The second exhibition is a selection of work by Aboriginal artists, who have been part of the Papunya Tula movement, which began in the Western Desert in 1971. Utopia Art Sydney has represented this artist owned company since 1988 as its painters have continued to explore innovative forms, keeping their traditional stories alive. This group show features the work of emerging and established artists, young and old and the extraordinary range of visual representations of their relationship with the land.
The third exhibition is Surfacing, featuring the work of Blue Mountains artist Caren Burzins. Throughout her life, Caren has been an acute observer of the bushland and rocky outcrops, which comprise so much of her natural environment. Printmaking and the making of collagraph plates enable her exploration of texture, pattern and layering.
Associated with these exhibitions is a program of talks and activities for children and adults as well as regular classes. Click here for detail.