3.23.2012

work table : Landgrabbing series

I spent much of last week finalizing a foreclosure quilt (pics soon!) and experimenting with ideas for the landgrabbing series. My studio is about to become a temporary hotel for family so I'm trying to get as much work done as possible before next Wednesday.


I've been thinking about how to best depict global landgrabbing, which is when other nations and corporations purchase or lease vast hectaires of land inside other countries to grow food for their own people. There are so many things that are wrong with this scenario that's rapidly unfolding.


This new evolution of massive food production is estimated to cause up to 50% of global emissions. The small farmers are being forcibly removed from their land to allow the better soil to go to the large farming corporations. The vast majority of these farming projects are a monoculture, which depletes the soil as well as the surrounding natural resources. There are so many other global impacts this is causing which I delve deeper into as the story unfolds.


At the moment, I'm exploring an idea to use national flags to depict the countries where landgrabbing is occuring. This could be the new Australian flag. As land is sold off to other countries, the flag will evolve to incorporate those new land owners.


Australia has twenty-two large scale farming investments from other countries. I've integrated their flags onto a land map of Australia which will be appliqued on top of Australia's national flag. My next step is to piece all of these random flag bits together (I can't tell you how many pins are up there!) and reveal the land map.


I listened to this program while I worked and just realized I need to just start making, even if this isn't the solution to the series. It also doesn't hurt to get some good feedback from another artist, who said "Just start cutting!" So I did. At least I'm taking a step forward. Who knows if this will be the ultimate solution. In the meantime, look here and here to learn more about global landgrabbing.

19 comments:

ronnie said...

as an aussie and a farmer I am simultaneously appalled and astounded by what's happening in my country.... its so heartening to see that some folk are aware of the immense stupidity of selling off your farm/home/country to foreign lands.... I just wish that more folk here at home knew just a little of what is occurring right under their ignorant noses.

what's more - its not just that we are selling the family farm to become the food bowl fro another nation.... our governments are aiding and abetting the carve up of our very best farmland for foreign mining... its just ridiculous!

This week I shared this > http://www.rhondaayliffe.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/little-left-of-field.html > I wish my fellow australians would wise up and lock the gate!

k said...

wow, that piece already blows me away - both your work and the meaning behind it. your approach to fibre art with an eye on real issues makes me want to raise more awareness with my own work as well.

Kathrin said...

Wow! What an enormously complex project you're working on and one of such importance. I've been interested in food politics since a long time. It's a tragedy how much damage reckless decisions and greed are causing while a few profit.
Thank you so much for bringing attention to these issues through your amzing work!

Altoon Sultan said...

I admire your work and commitment, that you combine a strong political statement with a beautiful art work. I'm sure this new series will be powerful.

iNd!@nA said...

Ronnie has already spoken for me...and i just wanted to add that i've great respect for the way in which you combine aesthetics with serious issues in your work.

Sally said...

Fantastic that you are taking your quilts global! We (in New Zealand) have a similar problem to Australia. At the moment there are 16 dairy farms that a Chinese "investor" wants to buy. Hopefully this will be stopped by the courts as the government seems quite happy for it to happen. Here's just one of many links to the particular saga. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6451161/Iwi-protesters-occupy-for-sale-Crafar-farm
Madness when there is a local consortium which includes Maori tribes that want to buy it too. However, everyone seems OK when a celebrity such as Shania Twain or James Cameron buy up large NZ sheep farms???

**EYE-SNACKS** said...

Kathryn,this looks so incredible fantastic!
I love this time also the bright colors you are using..keep up the good work!

kathrynclark said...

Thanks everyone for your tremendous support about this new series. What shocks me is how two of you within hours tell me your own lives are personally affected by similar stories, in Australia and New Zealand no less! It is amazing that this subject has come along so far with so little news about it. I plan to follow your stories and share them with the world.

Lindsay said...

What a strong idea you have cooking here. The notion of the chopped up flags is very powerful.

Colette said...

This is such an unbelievable situation, I had no idea such things were going on until I read about it on here.

I really admire your work and commitment to such important issues. It all looks amazing (your foreclosure series is beautiful) though it all fills me with such sadness and horror.

Jacky said...

This has been something we have spoken about recently in our family. As an Australian this is a very scary and real thing, to have your country being bought out for farming and mining benefits to other countries.
What are our politician thinking allowing this to happen.
Thank you so much for highlighting these issues. The image you have created already is very powerful and a wonderful way to enlighten people.

Jacky xox

lisa s said...

i really loved that npr interview too !!!
yay for cutting.
for diving in...

did you see fred wilson's african flags that he painted [all in b/w] at rena bransten? it was powerful imagery.... just in terms of pairing down flags to their essence and also the removal of color and what happens....

excited to see you tomorrow...
xx

Lari Washburn said...

Kathryn, our concern for what happens in the world, taken on a very personal level, is what changes the world. That you can do this with so much presence in your own art is a gift. You must spend so much time researching. How do you approach that end of your work? Big question I know, but I am curious.

kathrynclark said...

@ Lisa, thanks for that link and great seeing you this morning in person!
@Lari, great question! I think I'm research obsessed. Since it's something I'm passionate about, I tend to gravitate towards articles on the subject (fb is amazing for that). But I do a LOT of reading, calculating, spreadsheets, etc. Crazy for an artist, I know! I think that's worth a post in itself!

Victoria said...

Wow. This is amazingly powerful work, Kathryn.

Karen Anne said...

The urging to "just start cutting" resonated as it was a similar thought that came to me on 6 March and prompted me to start a daily quilt-making practice. It's been liberating and amazing to just Allow - and for the first time in my life the "committee" of critics in my head are silenced. The quilts are what they are with snipped threads and raw edges and no pattern; perfect.

My daughter lives in Rochester and she loves the Contemporary museum - I'll make sure she heads there to see your work!

Cheers,
Karen Anne

Karen Anne said...

The urging to "just start cutting" resonated as it was a similar thought that came to me on 6 March and prompted me to start a daily quilt-making practice. It's been liberating and amazing to just Allow - and for the first time in my life the "committee" of critics in my head are silenced. The quilts are what they are with snipped threads and raw edges and no pattern; perfect.

My daughter lives in Rochester and she loves the Contemporary museum - I'll make sure she heads there to see your work!

Cheers,
Karen Anne

kathrynclark said...

I love your work @Karen Anne! Just start is the best advice. I would love it if you daughter would see the show, let me know what she thinks :-)

Katrina said...

omg!!! kathryn this new series is going to be gorgeous. cheering you on.

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