Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Discovering Artist Meinrad Craighead


Meinrad Craighead's enthralling works captured my attention and imagination a number of years ago.

Her works were unbeknown to me at that particular time, however having accidently coming across her book Sign Of The Tree in a second hand book shop...even though it was stashed away at ground level in amongst a jumble of other books, the image on the book cover caught my eye - immediately intrigued I delved into the book, further captivated by Craighead's ability and draftmanship with scraperboard and woodcut techniques.
At first I was perplexed  concerning the price - it seemed unusually reasonable for a hardback. Getting into conversation with                                                                  
Sign Of The Tree by Meinrad Craighead 1979 published by
 Artists house, Mitchell Beazley Marketing Ltd
the book shop owner about this; he then told me a quirky tale - saying that the book itself was worth a lot more, however a mouse had chewed it's way through the cover reducing it's value...this didn't dampen my enthusiasm but only added to the enchantment of my discovery...
The book itself through imagery and text captures the essence of a magical/spiritual experience. It can be likened to that of going on a journey into another world - an ancient forgotten world waiting to be re-realised.
Craighead's own spiritual awakening and experiences led her to create the work.
Each image holds a spiritual dimension and each one tells a tale - which in many ways evokes a sense of the ancient, the primitive. Craighead's imagery communicates a connectedness of nature with humanity, to us - a kind of interconnection a co-existence - of man and nature- one with the other intrinsically entwined.

This challenges my own shortfall and disconnection from nature in the contemporary culture I dwell in.
I am reminded again of a recent trip to 'The Eden Project', seeing art works by the Indigenous people...works that tell a tale of these peoples interconnection with nature.
Like wise the images within this book also capture the imagination and challenge ones concepts about a need - a realization concerning a balanced inter-dependence with nature - whether I realise this at times or not. I need to be reminded to reconnect - to put aside the techno-material world for a while...regain that balance.                                                                                   
The Eden Project  Art that tells a tale of mans
interconnection with nature 2015 yf



The Forest makes your heart gentle.

You become one with it.

No place for greed or anger there. Pha Pachack



Trees ....                                                                                 

Brazil Nut Tree,Acrylic wash.
2015 yf
"A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe...What a terrible future!"  by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

...The Brazil Nut Tree, Acrylic Wash.
2013 yf

 Charred Remains,Pastel.2013 yf

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The impact of deforestation continues upon the Rainforest...

A prophecy by a Cree Indian was quoted by the  UN Director of Environment at a Geneva Conference in 1984...


"Only after the last tree has been cut down.
  Only after the last river has been poisoned.
  Only after the last fish has been caught.
  Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."


Indigenous painting at The Eden Project 2015 YF 
The impact of deforestation upon the Rainforests is something not to be taken lightly...its effects  upon the ecosystems has to be continually re-realised as a growing on going concern.One that's not going to go away.
It's a known fact that 20% of the Rainforest has been cut down in the last 40 years...yet there is more evidence than ever of the catastrophic, traumatic, damaging effects upon Indigenous peoples, wildlife, and fauna.
As  can be seen by the article below... reveals it's gaining momentum - (The impact upon climate change surely now being realised).
Such alarming effects upon the eco systems is evidenced, by the total disregard of the voices from Indigenous people groups and the havoc upon wild life, and fauna - the eventual impact....of which none can totally fathom or grasp; until as the above quote puts it, 'We will find that money cannot be eaten'...
    Having recently visited the Eden Project and by revisiting a past time project in 2013, spent as a student working along side and researching the work of the World Land Trust: Both have surely opened my eyes to the chaos that deforestation has had upon these areas of the world - such as the Amazon Rainforest ...As the quote  from the line of a Bruce Cockburn song goes...  'If a tree falls in the forest does anybody hear?'  

Today I saw an image that was heartwrenching; The chief of a tribe in obvious grief over the imminent loss of his tribes homeland; this is what the article said ...

While magazines and TV chains report about the lives and love affairs of movie actors and actresses, football playe...rs and other celebrities, the Chief of the Kayapo tribe heard the worst news of his entire life:

Mrs. Dilma, the president of Brazil, has given her approval for the construction of an enormous hydroelectric central (the world’s third largest one).
This means the death sentence for ALL the tribes living at the shores of the river because the barrage will flood more or less 988,421 acres of the forest. More than 40 000 natives will have to find other living surroundings where they will be able to survive. The destruction of the natural habitat, the deforestation and the disappearance of several species of plants and animals will be a fait accompli.
We know that a simple image is the equivalent of a thousand words, it shows the price to be paid for the “quality of life” of our so-called “modern comforts.” There is no space in the world anymore for those who live differently. Everything has to be smoothed away, that everyone, in the name of globalization must lose his and her identity and way of living.
If this enrages you, I urge and implore you to "SHARE" this message to all your friends, relatives and acquaintances.
Thank you in the name of life, nature and biodiversity/please follow Amazon Watch   http://amazonwatch.org/take…/stop-the-belo-monte-monster-dam

 Past and present works depicting the impact of deforestation are brought together here...

Past Studio at UCS working on  a project with the World Land Trust
getting together a body of work from the research I made; ideas, sketches and images  

Charcoal and pastel sketch
Charcoal and Pastel sketch

Indigenous Displacement Charcoal  yf 2014

The reason for working in charcoal in this instance is symbolic; As I see it, it's a way of using the medium as a vehicle - for identifying with this subject matter and therefore -engaging me with the issue- By using it as an expressive tool through which to communicate about the issues concerned - the impact of deforestation, then becomes to some degree - in someway ironic - it's a way of using the charred remains of wood to communicate the impact, the relentless onslaught of displacement, loss, destruction upon people, wildlife and fauna; caused by all consuming burning of down of trees in the Rainforests. All in the name (as the above article states)  of  the 'Globalization' (machine) - It is no respector of another way of living. We can conclude Globalization in its present form is a one dimensional ...act.

Forest, Civilization, Desert. 2013 yf Acrylic and collage.
The impact of fire upon the Rainforest leaves a aftermath of  devastation - the land is barren the eco system has collapsed.

Chico Mendes and The Brazil Nut Tree 2013 yf

The work here depicts Chico Mendes - a courageous man whose work helped so many Indigenous people in Brazil I try to capture the deep essence of nature and man that are so intertwined; Of their interdependence - one upon the other. . Using blue tones and colour ; representing the spirit of purity and unity.

A book on Chico's personal story; is powerful and evocative it taught me so much ....did you know the Brazil nut tree is  protected against deforestation- however- ironically once the rest of the biodiversity is destroyed around it ...The Brazil Nut Tree also dies within 2 years.

Acrylic and collage the impact of  fire deforestation upon People. yf 2013
We often talk and hear about the awful displacement of people due to famine and war, here we see it extending into tribes who rely intrinsically on nature of the Rainforest for survival. Who having followed for generations in the rituals of their ancestors over thousands of years now destroyed by fire in the name of Globalization. Here I am reminded of  Polish Artist Sculptor Franz Krajberg  who escaping the traumas of war ( and the Holocaust which claimed his family) found his humanity again by living deep in the Rainforest for a number of years... Now at the age of 93 he continues  his fight for the rights of the Rainforest and its inhabitants through his wood sculpture made from the remains of deforestation  

Recent works are abstract in definition-which I feel is apt concerning mans disregard of nature ..'it's' simply to be abstracted for contemporary 'mans' use and disposal. The series of work representing the aftermath; treeless, empty, void formless landscapes; though they may seem atmospheric in appearance the shadowy darkness hides the scars upon the land.

Mourning After 1 Acrylic and collage 2015 yf

Mourning After11 Acrylic 2015 yf

Mourning After 111 Acrylic 2015 yf

 Below the powerful painting 'We are making a new world'  by Paul Nash Artist his depiction of the effects of war upon the land  .

Paul Nash We Are Making a New World 1918 (painting of field with dead trees, red hills)
Paul Nash
We Are Making a New World 1918
© Imperial War Museum, London


 Finally From the  web page below here is an evokative  quote  form over a hundred years ago....

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, in a letter to A.S. Suvorin on October 18, 1888, was quoted as saying:  

"A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe...What a terrible future!"


Original Painting at the Eden project by an Indigenous Person tells us of an ancient story.
 Iridescent: Beautiful Green leaf. Biome Rainforest Eden Project 2015 yf