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Arts & Environment: Student Work: Summer of Sustainability

Updated: Apr 11

We're delighted to see and share so many of our students' work exploring themes of sustainability and environment. Here we feature Brindusa Burrows, Kim Appleton and Kinga Owczennikow.


BA Hons Creative Arts student Brindusa Burrows


My work is an open-ended exploratorium entitled « Air ». I began these series during the Covid pandemic in 2021, in response to the growing realisation of our collective and critical dependence on air for oxygen, freedom, and life. I explore the centrality of nature to the human essence, as a reversal of the paradigm of human superiority over the living environment.

"(I am) Cosmic Fabric" (2022-) is an attempt to keep leaves – and failing that, their memory – alive by any means. Naturally, this being a Quixotean endeavour, any attempt is doomed. Each piece employs a different technique suggested by colleagues, friends, family and passers-by, including wax, papier-mâché, ceramics, monotype, nail polish, wood glue, collage and others. In 2022, a selection of pieces was shown online as part of the Wander Wide Web collective virtual exhibition of the Open College of the Arts, available at https://artspaces.kunstmatrix.com/en/exhibition/10297239/wånder-wide-web

"Count:16’800; volume: 420l O2; status: expired" (2021). 16'800 is the number of leaves we need to get enough oxygen to breathe for just 1h. In 2021 I trapped 16’800 leaves in a transparent box, in an attempt to show the volume of leaves that a mere 1h of oxygen represented. Of course, the irony is that there is no saving grace in this box. When dead, leaves breathe out… CO2! This piece continues to live through the years, as the leaves deteriorate inside. In December 2021, this work was awarded a certificate of encouragement from the Luxembourg Art Prize members of the artistic commission, along with an invitation from the museum to continue in this direction.

Images:

1. Cosmic Fabric #1 (2022), 25cm x 20cm x 6cm (w x h x d), mixed media on paper with glue

2. Cosmic Fabric #9 (2022), 25cm x 20cm x 6cm (w x h x d), ink and charcoal on tracing paper

3. "Count:16’800; volume: 420l O2; status: expired" (2021), leaves and plexiglass installation 50cm x 50cm base x 70cm height

Find out more about my work here: https://www.brindusaburrows.art

Instagram: @brindusaf

BA Hons Creative Arts student Kim Appleton


I am interested in found objects and incorporating them into my work, believing that an element of memory of place is transferred from the object to my artwork. Discarded litter forms a large portion of these objects.

Litter – Ben Nevis – For this artwork, I investigated the biggest plastic polluters in the world. I knew that these mega-companies made many brands but when I investigated it, I was astounded by the sheer number of everyday brands made by just a few companies. Basically, you can walk into a supermarket and the entire stock would be from these few companies and you wouldn’t notice. For this piece, I collected my own plastic waste and any I found lying around. I also included adverts, anything that displayed the product name. I collaged these fragments and created an image of Ben Nevis. I painted over this, some labels remaining visible. I quite like the idea that the text or image is there but obscured much like the litter which is dropped in our natural environment which often remains for hundreds of years.

The other images were created for a project which investigated the use of Jute, a highly sustainable fibre used in many industries as an alternative to synthetic fibres. In the 19th century, the city of Dundee on the East coast of Scotland became “Juteopolis”, its mills supplying jute across the world. Sadly, Jute production eventually moved to India and the Dundee mills began to close except for the few using synthetic fibres.

Both images use the jute in different ways. Old Mill incorporates a strip of Jute to represent one of the mills, while the tendrils of smoke from the chimneys are created by collaging monotype prints of jute fibres, raw and processed. I have included a Monotype print created using jute string.


BA Hons Photography graduate Kinga Owczennikow

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. [Ralph Waldo Emerson]


This project presents viewers with photographs of natural and urban scenes in seeming harmonious coexistence. To passersby who choose to pause and gaze, the vegetation appears to be gazing back. I believe that nature is patiently waiting, sometimes in harsh conditions, for its opportunity to evade the human barriers and occupy the place it deserves.



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