Climate change art - what if we got it wrong?

Published 25/06/2016 | 00:00

ABOVE LEFT: Seamus Dunbar's installation outside Council HQ. MAIN PICTURE: Blaise Drummond's AdventCity. BELOW LEFT: Brigitta Varadi's Markings.
ABOVE LEFT: Seamus Dunbar's installation outside Council HQ. MAIN PICTURE: Blaise Drummond's AdventCity. BELOW LEFT: Brigitta Varadi's Markings.
ABOVE LEFT: Seamus Dunbar's installation outside Council HQ. MAIN PICTURE: Blaise Drummond's AdventCity. BELOW LEFT: Brigitta Varadi's Markings.

The public space in Wexford County Council headquarters known as 'The Street' is showcasing the weird and wonderful work of 15 artists who were asked the explore the impact of society and the global economy on our environment.

The exhibition entitled 'What if we got it wrong' is presented by the Arts Department of the Council in partnership with the Centre Culturel Irelandais in Paris and Wexford Arts Centre.

It was officially opened by the French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thebault and will run until July 29.

The collection was curated by Nora Hickey M'Sichili, director of the Irish culture centre in the lead up to the international COP21 Climate Conference last December.

It explores the premise that the progress we have made as a society may have diminished us, making us weaker. What if, as Lemn Sissay's poem asks, we got it wrong and have made a serious mistake. ''Let me get it right. What if we got it wrong?. What if we weakened ourselves getting strong?. What if our wanting more was making less. And what if all of this wasn't progress?'

The art works which feature a variety of mixed media including sheep wool, plastic tubing, plants, video, photography, crayon on canvas and a huge inflatable lighting installation were created by the following Irish and Irish-based artists - Emily Robyn Archer, George Bolster, Mark Clare, Alice Clark, Blaise Drummond, Seamus Dunbar, John Gerrard, Andrew Kearney, Susan Leen, Ruth Le Gear, Selma Makela, Anna Macleod, Christine Mackey, Seamus Nolan and Brigitta Varadi.

A number of the artists included in the exhibition have travelled to the Arctic including Ruth Le Gear and Blaise Drummond who journeyed there in 2014 when he was commissioned to create a travel book for the cultural arm of Louis Vuitton.

Selma Makela depicts areas of severe climatic conditions such as the Arctic and contemplates the ultimate inconsequence of humans in the face of climate change.

Susan Leen's installation and drawings look at the impact of rising sea levels on coastlines while Christine Mackey and Alice Clark both use live plant life in their work to address the issues of seed preservation, crop diversity, food security, land use and community gardening.

A sizeable number of the artists are based in County Leitrim where the issue of hydraulic fracking has galvanised communities, including the Wexford sculptor Seamus Dunbar who presents newly-commissioned work which demonstrates the underground impact of fracking on the landscape.

His installation is outside the front door of the Council with a miniature model of the Eiffel Tower and a ship bringing a sense of scale to the large stacks which represent an underground fracking pad and boreholes.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essays by Nora Hickey M'Sichili, Frank McDonald, Darragh McKeon and Katherine Waugh. It will tour to Leitrim Sculpture Centre in September and West Cork Arts Centre in Skibbereen in November.

Wexford People

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