15 December 2022

Artists to focus on region's devastating drought, fires and floods in emerging work

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Mariana del Castillo with CAPO president Penny Jurkiewicz. Photo: Genevieve Jacobs.

The chaos and trauma inflicted by rapidly changing weather cycles and natural disasters across the region will inform work from several major winners at the recent Capital Arts Patrons Organisation awards.

Queanbeyan-based artist Mariana del Castillo won the $15,000 CAPO fellowship and emerging artist Anna Madeleine Raupach received the inaugural Mandy Martin Art and Environment Award, presented in memory of the artist who died earlier this year.

The Rosalie Gascoigne Memorial Award went to Nicola Dickson to produce for an exhibition at the Wagga Wagga Regional Gallery reflecting on one of Australia’s most vulnerable ecosystems, grassy box gum woodlands.

“I’m increasingly drawn to the Snowy Valleys, the open spaces of the Southern Tablelands, the Monaro and the low hills around Lake George”, del Castillo said.

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Last year, the University of Canberra invited her to mentor and deliver art therapy workshops in a collaborative program for people traumatised by the Black Summer bushfires.

“In the Snowy high country, I saw first-hand the devastation the bushfires had on the landscape. I saw enormous black hills, extended vistas and dark valleys. In between workshops, I began to sketch the landscape, connecting the small towns of Batlow, Tumba, Adelong and Tumut”.

Using recycled materials, del Castillo will use the fellowship and a residency at Bundanon in the Shoalhaven to produce a body of work focusing on the landscape. That will be the basis for a solo exhibition at Bundanon and another at the New England Regional Art Museum.

“My despair about waste and excess continues to inform my artwork”, she said.

“The works will take on the transformation visible in the landscape through droughts, fire and human exploitation. The CAPO fellowship will allow me the opportunity time and research to bring all these disparate landscapes into one cohesive visual language.”

woman in art studio

Mandy Martin will be remembered with an award for art focussing on the environment and climate change. Photo: Supplied.

The inaugural award in honour of Mandy Martin came from her family’s determination to celebrate and continue an extraordinary legacy.

Martin’s work often considered environmental change and her son, Alexander Boynes, said the award arose from time the family spent together before her death.

“We reflected on all her achievements and everything she had brought to fruition, but we also wanted to focus on positive aspects of the future and hope. For her, that was really exciting and a life-affirming approach,” he said.

“We proposed we’d fundraise and put together an award for creative artists in whatever medium, Australia-wide, to make work that addresses the Anthropocene, climate change and what it’s like living here now with a drastically changing environment.”

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Award recipient Anna Madeleine Raupach’s work focuses on environmental themes and climate change. She’ll use the $75,000 award to bring together two recent trajectories, projects based on astronomy and mapping environmental change, particularly bushfire impact.

“My proposal is based on a concept called the Forecast Factory, first envisioned by a physicist 100 years ago”, she said.

“He visualised his mathematical theories with an imaginative version of a dome in which human computers sat and worked manually in analogue maths to forecast the weather. Those formulas still underpin modern-day weather forecasting.

“I want to reinterpret that idea with extreme weather in mind and the emotional factors associated with weather forecasting.”

There were 22 winners, including Sean Booth, who received the Robert Foster Memorial Award to develop a new range of titanium jewellery for limited-run production.

For further information about 2022 award winners, visit CAPO.

Original Article published by Genevieve Jacobs on Riotact.

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