Kiss the Earth (with your feet)

kiss the earth1
Kiss the Earth (with your feet) – installation view- Caring for Country exhibition, Beaudesert, Queensland

In the midst of setting up my new home studio after the flood, I was honoured to take part in the Caring for Country exhibition at Beaudesert in Queensland. Fortunately all the paper created during my university honours project last year was safe and sound in paper draws at home. So I was able to instal a series of banana paper paths upon which people could mindfully, slowly walk and experience  the idea of treading the earth lightly.

All the artists who participated in this exhibition responded similarly to the Caring for Country theme. Through a variety of different mediums, from video installation to sculptural works; all stressed the same idea of slowing down, listening to the earth, appreciating its beauty and being mindful of our responsibility to the earth and to each other.

This is the artist statement for my artwork in the Caring for Country exhibition which is exhibiting from 16 June – 30 August 2017.

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet” ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

A young Shaolin monk learns the precepts of Buddhist teachings and is told by his Master “When you can walk the rice paper without tearing it, then your steps will not be heard.” [1] To tread lightly on this earth has become the mantra of the ecological movement, and is embedded in the teachings of indigenous communities around the world.

To care for country, we must practice to tread lightly, to pay attention to our interactions with the environment. As a paper artist I am inspired to use the fragility and strength of handmade paper as a metaphor for resilience and a hopeful future.

These paper paths invite you to experience an intimate connection to country, by ‘kissing’ the earth with your feet. The paper is handmade from banana plant fibre which has the appearance of translucent fragility yet is quite strong and like the earth responds to our touch.

Some of these papers have been printed with an image derived from the banana plant leaf, fused with indigo dye along the stem line. These blue lines represent the sounds made by water dripping as the paper is made.

Baskets of pebbles and leaves have been collected from the Scenic Rim area, from riverbeds and local indigenous trees. Together the paper paths, the river stones and leaves represent the earth and its elements. Through this act of walking and placing a pebble or leaf at the end of each path, the theme of ‘caring for country’ is experienced through the senses. These gifts of and for the earth are placed to create a circle of connection, a mandala for contemplation.

[1] From the telemovie Kung Fu by Ed Spielman (1972)



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