(GRAFTd) Exhibition Program Sauerbier House Cultural Exchange 2018

5 May – 10 June 2018: Workshop dates: 4, 11, 18, 25 March-Final workshop 1 June.

Back to Life – Re-imagining

Back to Life celebrates the diversity of all living things and traces the perilous nature of the near invisible world of insects. Through re-imagining, research and factual evidence, 26 paintings interpret specific insects combining the native fauna of Australia (with the exception of a Mexican hairless dog, an ancient spider and some introduced species) with near extinct insects (and not always endangered) from around the Onkaparinga River and far beyond. The paintings reflect ‘tiny lives lost’, informing the reason for extinction in relation to the ecology of the land and river and the influences that have contributed to the decline in species.

Back to Life

“People thought insects were passive and just got accidentally blown about,” said researcher Jason W. Chapman of the University of Exeter to Scientific American last year. “That is absolutely not the case. Insects make active choices about when to migrate and how to use the winds, often moving fast and over long distances, in beneficial directions.”

We know and revere the migration of fauna: the red crabs of Christmas island, the leatherback turtles of the pacific, the humpback whales that traverse quests of ocean from the northwest Kimberley to the Antarctic. Yet so little is known, or even considered, about the migratory dance of our smaller kin: insects, those trillions of creatures that shift and pulse out of sight, mind and even imagination, roaming in vast clusters each seasonal turn to glue together our delicate ecosystems. What of their fate, these tiny lives? How little we know. How scant the research and attention we give to the living diminutive. The holes in our knowledge. How might we think about these trillions of species that defy our attention, whether in flight still, or with tiny wings at rest.

Back to Life is a playful look at the lives of these largely unknown species, an attempt to bring to people’s attention to the millions of tiny lives lost. By using what is known (fauna) as an expositive device, Back to Life brings to the fore the endangered, extinct and rare creatures that we rarely consider. The exhibition comprises 26 pieces, an A-Z collection with a hybrid fauna-insect accompanying each letter. A departure from Kennedy’s primary mediums of soft sculpture, painting and collage, Back to Life thrives on a marked divergence: drawings, painted later in dark mustard and yellow tones yet thoroughly and deeply illustrative in their function.

Cam Hassard