Arts and Design

Art evokes discussions on ‘dark’ tourism and environmental change

Land of Fire and Flood - 2019 Hadley's Art Prize finalist Dr Megan Walch
Land of Fire and Flood - 2019 Hadley's Art Prize finalist Dr Megan Walch

‘Dark’ tourism, ‘last-chance travel’ and lost landscapes will be explored at three public events in the last weeks of the Hadley’s Art Prize finalists’ exhibition, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Tasmania.

Five University scholars will contribute their expertise in cultural and media studies, philosophy and English to the evening’s panel discussion, Vanishing Landscapes, moderated by English lecturer Dr Robbie Moore.

“The exhibition is a good opportunity for researchers like us to share and develop ideas on how we remember and consume the natural world,” Dr Moore said.

“Tonight’s panel is a way for us to bring our underlying anxieties about environmental and ecological change into the limelight and acknowledge our grief.

“It’s a platform for us to think about how we memorialise nature that we’ve lost, including extinct animals such as the thylacine,” he said.

Curator Dr Amy Jackett said many of the works shortlisted for the 2019 Hadley’s Art Prize are about fragile and vanishing landscapes.

“Northern Tasmanian artist Nigel Hewitt used wood ash from Tasmanian bushfires to recreate a Lake St Clair landscape, and Dr Megan Walch salvaged a canvas from her flooded Hobart studio last year, then began painting it during the January-February fires. Megan called her artwork Land of Fire and Flood,” Dr Jackett said.

Dr Walch is a University of Tasmania PhD graduate and one of the panellists in the second event, Painting a Changing World, on Sunday.

Joining Dr Walch on the panel are experts in palaeoecology, conservation, geography and health, including conservation ecologist and geographer Distinguished Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick, and environmental health researcher Dr Penny Jones.

“Panellists will draw on the artworks displayed in the exhibition to explore how art and science prompt us to see, understand and relate to environmental change,” Dr Jackett said.

“It’s no accident that we’ll discuss this topic during National Science Week, but it is also timely to remember the long summer fires that changed western areas of lutruwita/Tasmania six months ago.”

The last panel discussion, The Art of Travel, will be held next Tuesday, 13 August 2019. Film, literature and tourism scholars from the University will explore how we see landscape and experience places we visit.

Artwork by Hadley’s Art Prize finalists will be on display and for sale at the Hadley’s Orient Hotel until Sunday, 18 August 2019.

  • Register for Vanishing Landscapes, 6 August 2019, 5:30–7 pm
  • Register for Painting a Changing World, 11 August 2019, 2–3 pm
  • Register for The Art of Travel, 13 August 2019, 5:30–7 pm

Source: UTAS

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