a participatory environmental art project
People are invited to become a part of a collection, through their feet they convey their story. The story of them as part of a whole, a land, a community, a living breathing changing entity.
Their feet are coated in oil and wrapped in gauze, for protection, for care. They are then encased in clay, massaged and moulded so that the clay takes on the form of the person, their body.
Voices talk tell their stories, what they love, what they do, what is important to them, where they live and why, they celebrate their being as part of a whole. Recordings of these stories will form a soundscape to accompany the installations of the collection.
The project started in 2009 as part of the Williams’ River Valley Artists’ Project where Juliet Fowler-Smith invited artists to make work in response to the proposed damming of the Williams River in the Hunter Valley NSW (Tillegra Dam). Juliet’s family has been property owners in the proposed inundation area for generations, and as an artist herself Juliet wanted to present a variety of artists responses to the dam proposal, and others that result in a loss of cultural heritage.
touch this earth lightly has developed into a more general project looking at the emotional and cultural connection to land/place and the environment. A way of honouring the animal within each of us, and paying tribute to our place in the world. People have joined the project from across Australia stretching from Kalkaringji in the Northern Territory to the Coorong in South Australia. The project is ongoing with the collection of more stories and feet along the way, installations appear at various places as opportunities arise. The final product will be presented as a portrait of people and place, an Australian community who care for country.
Stories of immigration, calling more than one place home, displacement; voluntary and enforced, are the next focus of the project. A residency at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne will facilitate the collection of stories over a couple of months towards the end of the year and early 2014, culminating in a presentation at the Immigration Museum in February 2014. The museum collection will be explored providing opportunities for further interpretation and weaving within the contemporary context.