Environmental Sculpture and Multimedia Event 2021

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.

Excerpt from Sea Fever by John Masefield

Published in 1902 the poem ‘Sea Fever’ speaks of a connection with the sea that is so powerful to the sailor that it is all he asks’ for. The poet describes that primal human yearning to connect with the power of nature. 

Art, like poetry, offers articulation of this deep connection we can all have with nature. There are, however, notable differences between an English sailor’s experience in 1902 and what we are experiencing in 2021 in Far North Eastern Australia in close proximity to revered natural eco-systems and during a global pandemic. 

Many have spoken about the opportunity the global crisis has invited.  with more people being grateful for the proximity to local natural reserves. This necessity to connect with nature has been noticeably heightened Australia wide during ‘lock downs’ and restrictions. 

In this context of these experiences, some artists in CRT 2021 invite us deeper into nature’s wonder and beauty, helping us to appreciate and ‘see again’ what we may have missed in the first place. Other artists draw our attention to current threats: the diminishment of the natural world, the consequent and alarming global imbalances created by excesses in consumption and increasing destruction of nature further separating us from that which is fundamental to who we are: encapsulated by the term ‘human nature’. 

Two themes were evident in the hall: In gallery 1 All at Sea explores issues such as marine plastic, waste and coral bleaching while also inviting a closer look at marine and littoral zone habitats. Gallery 2 On Land engages with problems of forest clearance, destruction of habitats and threats to land based animals and insects. The works encourage us into a deeper appreciation of land-based ecosystems and the amazement of nature’s micro-environments and their importance in sustaining life.

Outside the hall, in the grounds, at Rex Smeal Park and along the Flagstaff Hill walk were a further 17 site specific sculptures, installations and 1 performance piece on the beach at Little Cove near Rex Smeal Park, exploring similar themes. 

Multimedia works were also scheduled for showing on a portable screen.

The Garden of Plastic installation constructed through workshops with children aged 7 – 12 in the Mossman Shire Hall, occurred throughout the festival. Artworks from the workshops have created a mural for the new Paws and Claws building in Craiglie.

Environmental art is created to inspire caring and respect, stimulate dialogue, and encourage the long-term flourishing of the social and natural environments in which we live.

Ultimately, this event, the ‘Call of the Running Tide’ is also a ‘call’ to all people for action; it is ‘a clear call and a wild call that cannot be denied’.  

Jill Chism, Curator.

With special thanks to Rosey Cummings, Coordinator and the CRT Team.