In Adelaide, Australia’s fifth-largest city with 1.3 million residents, 51 artists submitted 66 different works for the fifth Solar Art Prize which offered a first prize of AUS$ 8,000 worth of solar panels, along with four minor prizes of AUS$ 5,000 each of solar vouchers.
The winner of the $8,000 prize was Frey Micklethwait, who had submitted his unpublished book ‘Homin-ID’ in the competition. Because he was renting and didn’t have a roof of his own, he gave his prize away.
The 66 artworks have been on display at the Royal South Australian Society of Arts gallery in March and April 2014, and are currently at display at Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide.
The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness of climate change and to encourage “ideas for the reduction of atmospheric green house gasses as expressed through art work, or by illustrating warnings and public responsibility.”
The exhibition depicts artists’ concerns with the environment and climate change, through their imagination, diversity and the beauty of nature.
Marg Easson’s oil painting ‘Climate Refuge – No Planet B’ won the Painting Prize, Gerhard Ritter’s water colour ‘The Final Floe’ won the Works on Paper Prize, Amanda Hassett’s ‘Carbon Footprint’ won the 3D Prize, and Aussie Kanck’s ‘Self Portrait’ won the Everything Else Prize.
In addition to viewing the art exhibit, visitors can pick up a booklet, ‘Ways We Can – Meet the challenge of climate change’, which contains a mix of previous art entries and emsissions reduction info – “science to inform and art to inspire.”
“Many approaches are needed to reeducate the public as they are being constantly bombarded with excuses to do nothing at best by doubters, skeptics and denialists of the facts – if they even venture to read them – and self-interested big business,” said Pip Fletcher who is the organiser and sponsor of the Solar Arts Prize.
Culture|Futures asked Pip Fletcher what her personal motivation is for doing all this, and in a letter she replied:
“What motivates us to do anything? I think motivational causes can be summarised as: Awareness, Experience, Examples of others, Imagination and some Lateral Thinking. All these things are interconnected.
I grew up in a small farm community, post war – people shared – they had gone through a depression and a war. When something needed doing, they did it, and they didn’t wait for government. Fetes, and working bees, were part of the social fabric.
I nursed and travelled widely. A chance-met American science student made me aware of some of the world’s environmental problems. Working in Ethiopia for six months, a year in a architectural technicians/building course with TAFE, the science module in teacher training in South Australia and research into Australian animals for a board game – Animal Sanctuary – all showed me some environmental aspects of climate change.
For decades I have listened to the BBC at night when I can’t sleep. Europe has been taking climate change seriously while Australia’s offical denial has been an ongoing disgrace for far too long.
Tim Flannery [Chief Commissioner of the Climate Commission which he turned into the independent Climate Council as the Australian government closed down the Commission] generously invited a number of wildlife and conservation supporters to a luncheon launch for his book. I was flattered and read it, and as many more books and magazines on the subject as I could.
Finally my sister an brother-in-law left me money which I wanted to use usefully. Their money’s gone but it is very satisfying to realise just how much we, the ordinary people, can do. I have become aware, not only through the people who have helped me, but of a vast number of other people who are trying to tackle the problem by a multitue of ways.”
The theme for this years’ Solar Arts Prize was ‘Caring for Our Planet’. A People’s Choice Award was handed over 13 April 2014.
Pilgrim Uniting Church hosts the 5th Solar Art Prize exhibition ‘Caring for our Planet’ until 9 May 2014.
» More about the exhibition on www.facebook.com
“The exhibition aims to celebrate nature and the environment and promote the reduction of carbon output in the fight against global warming by encouraging ideas for the reduction of green house gasses as expressed through art work, or by illustrating warnings and public responsibility. If the world can change to renewable power, we can achieve a more sustainable future for both the natural world and humanity.”
Introduction from exhibition booklet
» The Desert Equinox Solar Art Exhibition
Artists show what they can do with solar power. Held in Broken Hill, Australia, in 2012.