The hopeful beginnings of an ecological art practice

Wildflowers and cats

I have begun to develop new  work for my December 2020 exhibition at Blackwater Valley Makers, Fermoy, Co.Cork  and  am attracted to exploring the great eco -theologian thinker and writer Thomas Berry’s ideas of the beauty, and the mystery of life and particularly his ideas of why he thought the dominant culture needs a ‘new story’ of how to live well with the wider community of life. To incorporate some of his thinking into my creative work so as to inspire others, I have picked a very small area of land (one-meter squared–1m2) which I am going to examine over a period of months. I hope to look at it with wonder and discover things I had not known and/or realised about the interconnectedness of life. I am only barely aware that another ‘world’ exists at ground level teeming with life – a microcosm of life, and have had glimpses of it at various times while being quiet and still in our garden. I
would like to observe and record my impressions of this world and my reaction to it, and see
what arises in the drawings. 

In a recent online ecoliteracy course with ecological artist-educator Dr Cathy Fitzgerald and her collaborator, philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis, I’ve begun to understand the challenges and potential of ecological art practice. I’ve also begun to realise the centrality of developing compassion practice for myself to explore what are often overwhelming statistics and facts about how our culture currently degrades the conditions of life, to the point where the survival of human and others species are threatened. Developing a compassion practice, the benefits of which is confirmed by recent neuroscience, is I think so important so we can face the hard-to-look at consequences of a culture mindless of its own ecocidal activities.

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