Artlanders Exhibition – Protect / Protest

The annual Artlanders exhibition is on in Atherton this month and I have created something for it. Please go for a look in the Old Post Office Gallery if you’re local, and let me know what you think.

Artlanders is a growing collective of artists from the Atherton Tablelands, including amateurs and professionals, adults and children, coordinated by the amazing Lyndel Turpin. Every year they each contribute one work on a set theme. It is always a most entertaining show because of the wonderful variety of interpretations of the theme and also very diverse media. Works range from 2D pictures to sculptures, installations, digital art, and there’s always a dramatic performance and live original music.

Last year was the first time I’ve participated. The theme in 2010 was “Protect / Protest” and my installation was entitled Overfishin’ & Overfashion. It was a decorated shop-dummy pair of legs, essentially from a costume I wore years’ ago to a High School reunion.

Here is a picture of my creation

The fishnets united these 2 issues that had been on my mind. To read more about OVERFISHIN please look at my entry on Peak Fish.OVERFASHIONis a term I coined for unethical and wasteful clothes shopping. I have written more about conscious shopping here.

Backstory: I wore most of this (and more weird stuff) to my High School reunion in 1995. It was some sort of cathartic process to heal my bad memories of cringing through High School. I had this feeling that I’d suppressed my real self, so I wanted to reverse this with a costume that displayed the major elements of my life. The fishnets and fish, the mudcrab bag and the kelp and shell hat showed the years I had spent studying and working in marine biology and completing a PhD on marine algal ecology. In addition I wore shoes, a cloak, tattoos, jewellery and make-up that represented my family, art, dance and music. Yes, I did look bizarre, and my Dad said “You can’t go out wearing that!” as if 20 years hadn’t passed at all. No one else was in fancy dress at this formal function with nearly 200 guests. I will never forget my surprise when former schoolmates and even teachers said “Birdie, you haven’t changed a bit!” Then came the hilarious anecdotes reminding me of the good times that I’d forgotten and the laughs we had shared. It certainly was a valuable and healing event for me.

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