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Student Work: Arts, Sustainability & the Environment

As part of our Sustainable Summer programme we will be showcasing some of our student work around the theme of Sustainability, Climate Change and the Environment.


Today we bring you the work of Annalisa Mercuri, Ange Mullins and Anna Jeffrey.


BA Hons Painting student Annalisa Mercuri

“I am using data and information with a social impact and I transform them into visual artworks with the intent to show the data from a different perspective. In some of my works I am exploring the impact of climate change on the disappearance of plants. Endangered Species is a collaborative work where other OCA students across Europe have sent leaves which have been printed with the names of endangered plants and tree species across Europe. The work was exhibited in the Wander-Wide-Web exhibition we did as OCA Europe.


I am currently working on the theme of the disappearance of Alpine plants following melting of glaciers. To do this I am making ice sculptures of the flowers that are then left melting under the sun. The ice is made from atmospheric air condensed from an air conditioning system. What remains is a ghost shadow of the plant.”



BA Hons Creative Arts student Ange Mullins

“I am a Level 3 Creative Arts student nearing the end of my studies. My practice for the last two years flows from an immersive interest of our human-nature connection and how we interact with and use nature for human achievement, a concept I explore through ideas around materiality, using my own relationship and ongoing narrative with nature as a starting point. I work with foraged organic matter from which I make inks, pigments and charcoal, using these in drawing and printmaking. With these made art materials, I go on to explore alternative photographic making, such as chromatography, plus I work in anthotype, cyanotype and monotypes, the latter without the use artificial binders or other more toxic thickening agents.


I creatively vocalise my personal relationship and ongoing narrative with the natural world to inspire and encourage others to nurture an improved and symbiotic relationship with nature. The environment is of critical importance to our health and wellbeing, as well as the preservation of all species, and through my creative practice I hope to encourage a fresh approach inspiring reduced habituation whilst challenging stereotypical anthropocentric narratives.”



If you are a Stage 3 (HE6) student you can also listen to Ange speak about her current degree show exhibition Nature's Narrative? at one of our Creative Conversation events on 15 August 6pm BST. Log into OCA Learn to find out more.



BA Hons Drawing student Anna Jeffrey

“My work for project 2 in the Drawing degree course had a prominent focus on Climate change and its effects. All my work was completed using sustainable materials.


The first two drawings are entitled After/ Before- Before/After


The first drawing features quite a political theme, that being Global Warming.

The drawing is A1 in size but it is in two separate parts. They can be viewed as a Before and After or as an After and Before.


The first part is charcoal on watercolour paper of a large tree with cut out silhouette black leaves. In the background are small drawings of pylons, crows, oil drills ,industrial chimneys, industrial buildings, a coal-carrying, coal- powered steam train. The steam effect has been made from soot and wax. Also some oil drills. The texts are from Zola’s ‘Germinal ‘( in translation from the original French),which is a book about the hardships of miners in France in the 19th c and the second text is from ‘Hard Times’ written by Charles Dickens (chapter 5), also 19th c featuring Coke town,a very famous fictional place, which is ghastly in almost unimaginable ways due to the effects of industrialisation. My choice of texts speak for themselves.


The second part of the drawing is of a leafy tree, which has been drawn on the background of green food dye wash. The tree has been drawn using brown pastel, and there are some white blooms visible. The text is the poem ‘Curlews’ by Ted Hughes. This was written as a tribute to these beautiful elusive birds and I chose this because curlews are in danger of extinction.


Surrounding the tree are small drawings, a salmon leaping, someone ploughing with a horse in hand, swallows and curlews, and a small group of flowers, all potentially under threat. There is a small blue sphere surrounded by green which is my attempt to show how the planet should be cared for, if we as humans are to survive.


On the morning where I created ‘New York Fog ‘There was an item on the news about the fires in Canada, causing smog in New York. This gave me the title for my work - the drawing stemmed from continuation of ideas about global warming. For this drawing I used pieces of rotten wood, soil from the garden mixed with water to make a paint and dilute beetroot juice in an aerosol spray.”



Watch this space for more student work throughout the month of August.

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