In August last year I was invited to undertake the inaugural artist residency at Artspace Mackay during 2017 and produce a solo exhibition of works for exhibition from November 2017- February 2018.
Key fieldwork has since been undertaken at scientific research centres and different reef ecosystems along the length of the Great Barrier Reef from the Tropical North to the Southern edges at critical species nesting and migration times. Ocean, birds and other species have been documented at Lizard Island, Heron Island, Cairns, Michaelmas Cay, Townsville, Mission Beach, and Lady Elliot Island sites. I’m about to head to Mackay for the three-week artist residency that will incorporate species observations from this region and the Whitsundays. So far my research has unveiled just how brilliant and significant the diversity of life is in the Wet Tropics and GBR of Queensland. So for next few months I’ll continue to convert all of my research data into studio artworks for the upcoming exhibition.
This project considers the impact of anthropogenic activities, climate change and other threats faced by the GBR and its inhabitants. The recent coral bleaching events of 2016 and 2017 is a stark reminder of what is at stake for the survival of thousands of species and associated human tourism and fishing industries should the GBR ecosystem be unable to recover from serious climate change events.
The Great Barrier Reef | Anthropocene Project aims to visualise and communicate the critical scientific data relating to vulnerable GBR and Wet Tropics species via the representation of my ‘artist citizen scientist’ encounters at each site, recreating these experiences for audiences through art.
This major project would not have been possible without the support of Director Julie Skate and her team at Artspace Mackay, and the key grants funded by Arts Queensland and the Brisbane City Council. My heartfelt thanks to these organisations and to the many marine biologists, scientists (professional and citizen), and tourism staff members who have helped me understand the enormous amount of data relating to the Great Barrier Reef, its species and ecosystems.
I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you all in Mackay this November!
*Stay tuned for more news, including details for the concurrent exhibition of artworks beloved by Sir David Attenborough that will also be showing in the adjoining gallery space at Artspace Mackay…
Emma Lindsay and the ‘Great Barrier Reef | Anthropocene Project’ is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. Creative Sparks is a joint initiative of Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland.