(eco)nversations ITCC Green Art

Stefanie Schoeman - (Eco) conversations 2012

During the 2012 Cape Town Green Expo, held at the Cape
Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) from 23
to 25 November 2012, 8 artists are exhibiting artworks or
art installations inspired by and dedicated towards the
environment.One of the aims of the exhibition is to offer expo visitors the
opportunity to form new understandings and perceptions
about sustainability through art.

Offer artists a platform to showcase work that has an
environmental message, are produced or created in a way
that considers its impact on the environment, or in some
way offer the viewer new understandings and perceptions
about their own relationship and connection with the
natural world.

The following reflects each artist’s perception of “Green Art”

“Green politics are gaining prominence in South African art
practice, as can be seen by the winners of this year’s ABSA
l’Atelier Awards and SASOL New Signatures, both of whom
engage with environmental science. The urgency of
climate change is trans-national. South African artists are
increasingly acknowledging that our national conversations
fit into the planetary conversation. Issues surrounding
cultural difference continue to be vital in understanding
how we live together. However, there can be few themes
more relevant to human life today than ‘green art’, for want
of a better word, or a pre-occupation with the current
ecological crisis that threatens our survival. Many artists
today are mirroring the current shift in human identity
towards seeing ourselves as inter-dependent with the living
systems of the planet, and exploring how we may live
together more responsibly.”
Kai Lossgott

Simon Max Bannister
Janet Ranson
Kai Lossgott
Stefanie Schoeman
Janet Botes
Danelle Malan
Nicolle Marais
Claire Homewood

"I see green art as a movement which:
• generates awareness surrounding our relationship to
the physical world we live in
• attempts to examine this interaction in terms of the
individual’s unique situation
• attempts to encourage and empower the individual
to make educated decisions regarding his/her role in
the current global environmental crisis.
I believe that green art needs to be approachable and
easily accessible to those who view it. There are
different spaces of interaction - Galleries, public parks,
community centres, hospitals, offices, homes and shops
all have different capabilities in terms of exposure and
involvement. These places each have slightly different
demographics, an important point to consider when
creating and showcasing green art.
I believe that green art plays an important role in
environmental affairs, just as political art plays an
important role in the political landscape - art
everywhere, in every field, assists in galvanising society
for change."
Danelle Malan

"‘Green’ is a catch-all word like ‘art’ that can mean very
different things to different people. It is still helpful as an
orientation towards a greater awareness of my own (and
your) place in the greater scheme of things. On a small
planet, swarming with billions of people, all of us
consuming food, ideas, products and resources as
efficiently as possible, it can be hard to remain mindful of
the rhythms of nature, the fact that the planet is finite, and
that thousands of other species need to share it with us.
Green art serves to wake us up, to show us new
perspectives and reintegrate us in our one, precious world."
Janet Ranson

"‘Environmental art’ is a reflection of each artist’s
personal point of entry into their own environmental
awareness. It reflects what they connect with in nature
and what makes them care about the natural world.
As such, it has the potential to act as a vehicle for
onlookers through which to discover their own
connection with nature; whether it is in the minute details of a leaf or in the
quiet stillness of the desert, in awe, wonder,
with care, gratitude or concern;
environmental art reminds us to actually look
at what is happening around us.
With this it hopefully inspires the viewer to spend a
little bit more time observing a leaf or enjoying the
calmness of open space, because once you experience
a tangible moment in nature
– a moment where you really connect with the earth –
you cannot help but care!
From here environmental awareness becomes second nature."
Stefanie Schoeman

"Green Art strives to use eco-friendly and recycled materials
wherever possible. The Green Artist approaches art
making with a sense of being a unique individual and part
of a greater whole. We are one living organism and it is our
challenge to co-create this world in alignment with nature
and to nurture the potentials of each other. Art allows us
access to greater parts of ourselves. It is a vitally important
and exciting aspect of being human. Art can be very telling
in its reflection of who we are and where we are at. It also
allows us to envision the future and to plant seeds in the
minds of those who come into contact with it. It is a highly
effective means of communication in its ability to speak to
us on more unconscious levels. The Green Artists is
conscious of all of the above and creates work that
positively affects the Whole."
Claire Homewood

"The most effective “Green Art” is about an economy of
material and energy. It looks at the relationship man has
with nature. This conversation can work with ideologies,
metaphors and processes, but mainly deals with the
tension that exists when trying to understand the
“isolation” man has created that separates him from
the natural world. Through the expression of green art
we inevitably come full circle to see ourselves once
again as fully integrated and part of nature. This is why
it is such a rewarding endeavour.

It is no light subject to investigate as there are many
negative manmade issues that exploit the environment.
By using found materials the sculpture or painting is
loaded with meaning that can assist the message the
artist is trying to convey. Green art can speak on behalf
of a greater cause and educate people to the essential
diversity of the environment and the need to protect it
and not exploit it. Inevitably the artist is in danger of
contradiction by the very process of creating as this can
be so energy and resource intensive to the extent that
the work is in fact negated by it. One must be very
conscious of the creation process and foresee the
repercussions of ones actions. Through the works I have
made, this has been reveled repeatedly, and I still find it
a slippery bridge to traverse successfully.
The requirement of green art is great and difficult to
achieve, this is why it is such a fantastic challenge to
embrace as it teaches profound lessons as one
engages with the dynamic elements and processes of
creation and destruction."
Simon Max Bannister

"Green art to me is art that is created with awareness of an
environmental issue and is made in a way that does not
harm the environment. It is art that has a consciousness
about it – from start to finish."
Nicolle Marais

"Green Art is a term with a multitude of connotations, a phrase
which could be unpacked and interpreted from various angles,
depending on the perspective, ideology or experience of the
individual giving the explanation. My interpretation of Green
Art is multi-faceted due to the inclusion of three directions or
explanations. The first is the creation of visual content with environmental
concerns as thematic concern or focus. This type of art could
include painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, conceptual
art, performance art, and any combination of these. The aim of
the work, however, is to raise awareness, ask questions or make a
statement about environmental degradation, towards supporting
nature conservation or action towards tackling a problem.

The second direction of Green Art that I find notable and important
is the creation of art through using techniques and materials that
has little or no negative impact on the environment or health of
living beings. Techniques and materials include natural, unrefined,
or raw items found in nature such as leaves, rocks, twigs, wood
from fallen trees and sand. It also refers to utilizing materials
perceived as waste by-products of any human industry or product/
service creation. The use of these materials prevent them from
being discarded into landscapes, or even retrieves them from
polluted landscapes.

The third direction is in my opinion the most relevant as
interpretation of Green Art – an amalgamation of the previously
mentioned two explanations. In its truest sense of the word,
Green Art refer to art – as creative expression and tool for visual
communication – that focus on environmental aspects of human
consumption and lifestyle, looking at the acquisition or sourcing
of material as part of the creation process or even as the primary
focus. Where the material follows the meaning, form following
function, and the integrity of the artwork flows from the full
integration of meaning with medium and material."
Janet Botes