The inaugural Nature Festival was presented last year and the 2021 iteration – to run from September 25 until October 4 – will feature more than 200 events and see the return of Jack Buckskin as its cultural ambassador.
The arts program, announced today, will be led by cross-disciplinary artist Amber Cronin (co-founder of The Mill), who says it will celebrate the strong connection between nature and the arts.
“Nature is all around us; we are immersed and influenced by it all the time, whether we realise it or not, and the same is true for the arts,” Cronin says.
“The connection between the two is often entwined and our Nature Festival residences and exhibits this year will showcase this.”
Adelaide artist Louise Flaherty will work with musician and composer Belinda Gehlert and dance artist Tanya Voges to present a multi-disciplinary two-day experimental sound and music performance in the Adelaide Botanic Garden called Memorial for Forgotten Plants. It takes its title from a long-term project by Flaherty and will reflect on the loss of native plants from the suburban landscape, taking inspiration drawn from her repeated drawing of 86 species of grey box and SA blue gum woodland.
Trees are also the theme of a residency by multi-disciplinary artist, designer and photographer Rosina Possingham. She will spend time with Trees For Life, using “old camera technology” to take new photos that she will blend with archive images and new technologies to tell the story of its 40-year history in a work to be exhibited later in the year.
Possingham will also present two workshops during the festival, including one at the Westwood Nursery using cyanotype methods to create images of participants’ favourite plants.
Writers SA is partnering with Nature Festival to present a series of talks by authors who have written on environmental themes, including Sophie Cunningham (City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death and the need for a Forest and Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy) and Claire Dunn (launching her new book, Rewilding the Urban Soul).
Exhibitions celebrating nature will be presented at a number of venues, including Carrick Hill, and the Art Gallery of South Australia will host a nature-themed “First Friday” after-hours event in October titled Return to Earth.
“Art is a brilliant way to tell stories – it creates opportunities for people to reflect and resonate with a subject,” Cronin says. “We are sure this year’s diverse artistic program will be as provocative as it is enjoyable as we continue to work with artists whose practice reflects our crucial and magical connection to nature.”
Further details of the 2021 Nature Festival program can be found online.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.