EARTH DAY Art Exhibit

2020

UGA EARTH DAY CHALLENGE Exhibit

The Earth Day Art Challenge exhibit features artwork from the University of Georgia community focused on connecting with and appreciating the earth, people, or other living creatures during this time of uncertainty, and how this can inspire an even better future

Appreciation

Convey a sense of personal connection with and appreciation for the earth, people, or other living creatures

Winner: Gigi Gonsalves

with “Earth Day is Every Day”, song and video

"Earth Day is Every Day"

A cheerful tune by Gigi Gonsalves about how Earth should be celebrated every day (not just on Earth Day). It’s meant to make people more mindful about the world around them, appreciate it for all that it provides, and to have optimistic feelings toward the future.

Action

Conduct or inspire meaningful action to protect the earth, people, or other living creatures

Winner: Rebecca Pearson

with “Don’t be trashy!”, animated gif

"Don’t be trashy!"

A gif made by Rebecca Pearson “to start a conversation about littering and pollution waste.”

Awareness

Illuminate a current issue affecting the health and wellbeing of the earth, people, or other living creatures

Winner: Alan Barrett

with “Reuse, Renew”, clay and mixed media sculpture

(Unfired clay, plastic bottle, cardboard, straws, paint, string, organic matter)

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"Reuse, Renew"

I am a ceramics major at UGA and during this pandemic I have no access to a kiln, but I do have clay. I wanted to make a “finished” piece without adhering to the sculptural limitations that firing clay can create. Clay as a medium is a gift from the earth and it is 100% recyclable until it is fired. After firing, clay becomes vitrified/extremely permanent so I decided to play up the recyclable element of unfired clay by using a mixed media approach: incorporating found recyclable materials. I made the figure seem older to convey the wisdom the earth and sustainability efforts have to offer. Overall I created this piece as an appreciation for nature and conservation efforts and our roles in perpetuating that effort. 

Photography

Mixed Media & Textile

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Painting and Drawing

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Poetry

"gray dirt" by Wesley Peebles
I find the plants that grow in
the little clearing of the wood
behind my house. I don’t live
there any longer, but underneath
the oaks and the pines and the lone magnolia
the same ferns and beetles
make their homes. To know that
change presses on mightily in
the face of Time is something
blissful here. The loss of the old
pine whose bark I peeled off
like a large woodpecker fell in
the last great storm. But now the
termites and grubs have a new
home and the weeds and vines
grow anew in its place. If
only resolve could create a
human world like this would I
find my heart able to take
the replacements of change.
Instead, my separation will be
complete until my union with
the warm Mother Earth.
"longleaf" by Wesley Peebles
Her roots once covered swaths of the Southeast, and –
Like my family – a product of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Just like that family, she built a life out of hardships.
Years, decades, eons of fire ecology breathed life into her
Like war at the heels of Depression. What is her legacy?
Whose history is being told?

Between those fires and tropical storms, Pinus palustris
Made quite a fine home. A strong, healthy mother to cordgrass daughters,
Pitcher plant sons. From those sandy soils sprouted grandchildren,
In-laws, cousins and love. Her trunks a cathedral, branches filtering sun.
A monument to the faithful: salamanders, tortoises, snakes and birds.
But a world of monuments to martyrs or to none.

Threatened by mining. Fire-suppression a loaded gun.
Fragmentation, dredge-and-fill, development.
And odious of all, the Mother struck down by logging.
She – our protector – our habitat, our home.
A quarter remaining, who will remember when she is gone?
Will we then elect to canonize a Saint of the South?

"Garden in Atlanta Chinatown" by Yixuan Wang
Behind black pine trees, a painted
Great Wall, ringing wind chimes,

blooming coral azaleas
surrounded by bamboo,

whispers between goldfish and pebbles,
under the red bridge, drifting away

from the shimmering pagoda lights,
the zig-zag path to stone Buddha,

a red Japanese maple leaf,
spinning down.

"Living the dream" by Sherry Kate Nourizadeh
Living the dream
A response when there’s no other
We say it out of spite, tiredness, sarcasm
Hiding from the echoes of our true reality

Ready to breathe the air again
The pollen of the spring
Without the shattering fear of droplets
Falling down to infect our good spirits

But in hiding, we discover new things
The inner motions
The things we are too busy to see
Coming out of us like some great creation
But we ignore them in optimism
Living just to get by
Passing the time, day by day
Never feeling like we need to slow down

But now that tomorrow is also contained
Maybe next time that we breathe the free air
We’ll look around to see the world for what it truly is
Preserving the realization that we are in fact living the dream

"Solitude" by Sherry Kate Nourizadeh
In solitude we cry
Like a force without reason
We bury ourselves deep
Running from the truth
In absence we suffer
Lacking given freedom
Because nothing we can make
Becomes something we want to do
How we need people
Facing all the hugs we didn’t give
Drowning in the regret
There’s no teleporting back
Makes one long for the days
When attention was turned away
Like a broken record, still singing to us
Always avoiding it’s escape
How I’m ready for humanity to return to the norm
The endless admiration for the sunshine filled days
The liberation of the rain, pouring over the Earth
A reminder that renewal is on its merry way
In solitude, we sit
Listening to the birds in harmony
Dreaming of long walks with friends
Coffee shops in the afternoons
In absence we understand
All these things we took for granted
Hoping, waiting patiently
To relive those days anew
"VISBLE | INVISBILE" BY LILLIE BECK
How can a pandemic persist when the sun is out?
When it’s raining, it feels as close as the moisture on the skin
A world physically in grief

But when the trees are budding
Flowers blooming
Reality is a kaleidoscope of experiences
Blinding us from the rain still falling elsewhere

Why does it feel more severe?
Closer & intrusive
When the weather feels as bleak as the world?
As if the weather should be mirroring our current situation

A pervasive reminder we are from the clay
Molded from it
Not molding our Mother

Weather
How controlling, pervasive, determining
VISIBLE

Virus
How controlling, pervasive, determining
INVISIBLE

Why do I sense fear in what I cannot see?
As feeling the thunder roll in as the air looms heavy in the dark
We feel afraid
The humidity causing our grip to slip
From false security

You cannot see a virus
Only the ripples in another sensory plane
It operates without language, nationality, or warning
Your privilege grows no roots in its soil

A pandemic
Thunder in the dark
Rolling in
Never revealing its magnitude
Distorting its location and severity
A feeling sending me clutching for the earth
Forcefully centering and grounding us within
A release from control

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Music & Animation

I started hiking the Appalachian Trail this year but had to suspend my hike and come home due to the spread of COVID-19. Transitioning from so much movement and adventure to shelter-in-place was/is challenging. Watching the plants and animals in my backyard and observing the change of season have been beautiful, and I am grateful for this opportunity for stillness even though it is not what I planned. I also used this time to relearn animation! I created this video from my home in Athens, GA while social distancing. All illustrations, images, and videos are my own.

“Time For Now” is an original song written and inspired by current events. The subject is a feeling of solitude in quarantine and a renewed appreciation for the people and opportunities that we sometimes take for granted.

This solo viola piece was written in a (socially-distanced) collaboration between composer Kelly Catlin and violist Elizabeth Boyce. “Lilac and Snapdragons” is a love song to spring; a piece that depicts the lifecycle of Elizabeth’s favorite flowers from seed germination to leaf and stem growth to flower production and back again. Elizabeth’s video performance was shot in nature amidst singing birds and flourishing greenery.

This is a gif I made to raise awareness about how climate change is such a crucial subject. We don’t have any other options or plans other than reversing the damage in 11 years.