18 Feb 2020
Two artists have been selected for this year’s Wild Creations, a joint Department of Conservation (DOC) and Creative New Zealand initiative supporting artists to engage with nature and conservation.
Denise Batchelor and Sarah Hunter have been offered Wild Creations funding and the opportunity to undertake a DOC conservation experience, to complete an artistic project based on the places, people and stories of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says “We look forward to seeing how these artists and their residency projects respond to both local environments and local communities, and their proposals develop from those interactions and contribute to the environmental, cultural and social wellbeing of all concerned.”
“Wild Creations opportunities are highly sought after by artists and communities, and the ‘on the ground’ support and knowledge of DOC staff is always vital to the success of the programme.”
Visual artist Denise Batchelor, based in Hokianga, is planning a project called ‘The Heart of a Forest’ which explores the life force and inherent breath of a kauri forest.
“The central idea or kaupapa of this arts project is to observe moments of wonder, creating work that inspires both local community and visitors alike to essentially embrace the nature of kaitiakitanga,” Denise says.
Sarah Hunter will create an installation work that responds to Porangahau Estuary in Hawke’s Bay, engaging with local community and raising awareness of a remote coastal habitat.
Currently based in Wellington, Sarah grew up 15 minutes from the estuary. She says 'Home' is an opportunity to offer a creative perspective to the Porangahau Estuary conservation story, to re-connect with her 'tūrangawaewae' and give back to Porangahau School and community.
DOC Director General Lou Sanson says “I was impressed and inspired by the applications we had this year. It’s exciting to know there are so many people who feel so strongly about nature and have such creative ideas for sharing that passion. Congratulations to those artists who have been selected.
“Both artists selected this year have a strong focus on the relationship between people and nature, including the importance of katiakitanga (guardianship). That feeling of connection with our nature and heritage is a crucial part of making conservation a success. Wild Creations is about inspiring New Zealanders by engaging them with nature. I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s artists tell these stories.”
The artists will receive a stipend, project material costs and travel costs. They will have 12 months to plan and take up DOC experiences in support of their project. At the end they are expected to produce new work, based on their experiences and outlined project.