Exhibition demonstrates the role of art in a political space

The exhibition On Art and Activism presents art from key moments in Aotearoa, New Zealand’s historyIn this exhibition, there are campaign-like art works that quite obviously seek to address perceived injustices and can easily be associated with the term ‘activist’. But there are also art works, for example the work of Don Binney shown here, which are quieter and assume a less strident political position. Painter Don Binney had a lifetime interest in ornithology and conservation and his passionate interest and enthusiasm for the wildlife of Aotearoa is very evident in his work Kereru, Te Henga. Painted by Binney in 1969 it reflects a time in the early 1950s when pressure to develop New Zealand’s infrastructure through large-scale engineering projects had increased following World War ll.

At the time, environmental damage was seen as the inevitable consequence of this development. However, by the 1960s public attention had turned to the major destruction of wildlife habitat these developments caused. Later in the decade, when Binney painted the work, it was understood that introduced predators were responsible for the extinction of many native bird species. From this time on, it was generally accepted that human intervention was required to save indigenous bird species. 

What Binney is conveying here is the sympatico relationship that exists between our native fauna and its natural habitat. Binney expresses this through the interdependencies of the shapes and colours in his composition. The lines that form the Kereru seems to merge with those of its perch, as do the colours of the bird and its surrounding flora. Throughout his career Binney presented us with such iconic images, of birds and landforms that they became a huge part of how we identified our ‘New Zealandness’.

Works such as these help us to understand the importance and uniqueness of our natural environment and this is now a part of our shared identity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.




Trending Topics

planthro projects