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Adapt and Survive - Visual Arts Exhibition and Film

Hemstock, Sarah L. (2014) Adapt and Survive - Visual Arts Exhibition and Film. [Show/Exhibition]

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The exhibition “Adapt and Survive” was the result of a portfolio-based submission for the degree Master of Arts in Pacific Studies. Thesis Title: An exploration via art practice of climate change impacts and adaptation in the Pacific Islands region. Research Group Name: Oceana Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, The University of the South Pacific Student: Sarah Louise Hemstock Principal Supervisor: Akanisi Kedrayate Co-supervisor: Frank Thomas Advisor: Joanna Beasley External Advisor: K Nadim Chaudry This is the first art practice-based submission at USP. The research and documentation carried out during the course of this MA culminated in a final exhibition – Adapt and Survive -documented here. This exhibition should be seen as equivalent to a thesis submission. Additional activities carried out and contributing to the MA portfolio included the planning and execution of the “EcoArts” community project and exhibition – which is documented separately.

Item Type: Show/Exhibition
Additional Information: Artist's Statement Our climate has always changed, but now those changes are happening over a human lifespan. In order for our species to survive in a way and in a world we recognise, we have to adapt. Human induced climate change is one of the leading global issues of our time - affecting every aspect of life on earth. The consequences of this change are already dire for Pacific island nations, with more negative projections stating that some of them could become uninhabitable within a generation. The works in this exhibition are an attempt to explore the causes and effects of climate change and human imposed environmental degradation and seek to bring an awareness of how these issues reverberate around cultural loss and societal change within the Pacific islands region. The works reference current threats from climate change and parallel this with the region’s past use as a testing ground for destructive and constructive technologies and how it has lived with and survived these uses. The artist’s personal experience growing up in the cold war is also reflected. The artworks raise many questions – not all of which can be answered. For example, we find out about “history” by examining what nature, civilisations and cultures leave behind... pottery, footprints, documents, images, clothing, tools, artworks... Due to climate change and environmental degradation, many of the low lying atoll nations of the South Pacific will soon be history – in a human lifetime it is likely that land and cultures will belong to the past – what will be left behind and why? How can these “traces” of what once was be anticipated and presented? How are the people of the region going to respond to these challenges? What are people doing in order to adapt and survive? The artwork is influenced by the nexus of the modern human induced environmental degradation and the ancient, possibly even pre-historic, natural resource based strategies that are now seen as a pre-requisite to adapt and survive. “Traditional” adaptation strategies were, and still are in some cases, tied into spiritual/supernatural beliefs. Additionally, from the artist’s personal experience with communities in Tuvalu, spiritual beliefs are also linked to the climate change phenomenon and community responses to its challenges. For example, the process of materials collection is important in terms of resource availability, social activity and beliefs. As knowledge, belief and culture are lost, the “artefacts” they produced are likely to survive, be exhibited in museums and researched... as the physical “traces” of once existent cultures and beliefs. The exhibition reflects the “reverence” given to artefacts by giving a “theatrical” experience to the presentation of the work. A major influence on the artist is their ongoing development work. Their work has always dealt with communities, promoting sustainable development and climate change adaptation via use of local natural resources. Sustainable development and “traditional” forms of climate change adaptation intrinsically involve working with natural renewable resources such as wood, biomass and found materials, hence the basis for working with found materials and natural forms.
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
T Technology > TR Photography
T Technology > TT Handicrafts Arts and crafts
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Oceania Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies
Depositing User: Sarah Hemstock
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2015 23:58
Last Modified: 09 May 2016 00:00

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