Start­ing con­ver­sa­tions

Un­com­mon Com­mon Art be­gins 2018 with another Ericka Walker mu­ral

Annapolis Valley Register - - ARTS -

Ericka Walker, well known artist, print­maker, and pro­fes­sor at NSCAD, is tak­ing part in this year’s Un­com­mon Com­mon Art ex­hibit.

Walker par­tic­i­pated in Un­com­mon Com­mon Art 2016 when she painted a large mu­ral on the side of Tap­root Farm’s build­ing in Can­ning. The 2016 mu­ral weds im­ages of early 20th cen­tury farm equip­ment used in the area with poetic words from a lo­cal farmer’s wife of the same era.

This time the artist, as­sisted by three Nova Sco­tia based emerg­ing artists, will be cre­at­ing a mu­ral that is in­spired by ad­vance­ments in farm machin­ery. It is an image of hope and good pur­pose as well as be­ing em­blem­atic of an on­go­ing call for progress as farm­ers at­tempt to feed the world.

“The sur­vival of agri­cul­tur­al­ists in this re­gion meant main­tain­ing a dy­namic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the pro­duc­tion of crops, an­i­mal hus­bandry, ma­chine main­te­nance and land man­age­ment. I have a great re­spect for these peo­ple,” said Walker.

Walker will be de­sign­ing her lat­est mu­ral us­ing vi­su­als in­spired by early 20th cen­tury pro­pa­ganda im­agery as an aes­thetic plat­form for ad­dress­ing both his­tor­i­cal and con­tem­po­rary at­ti­tudes towards colo­nial­ism, agri­cul­ture, and the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts these ad­vances have made on the land.

Agri­cul­ture

“It was per­ma­nent agri­cul­ture and its as­so­ci­ated tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances that in­sure the rapid ex­pan­sion of Eu­ro­pean set­tle­ment across North Amer­ica, more than any other fac­tor,” she said. “Whether this ex­pan­sion is seen mostly as no­ble or dis­as­trous, its deep­en­ing im­pact on the land is ut­terly un­de­ni­able. One of the press­ing is­sues in agri­cul­ture is soil con­ser­va­tion. Some pre­dic­tions claim that the world has an average of 60 years of har­vests left, and taken along­side de­for­esta­tion and cli­mate change, de­struc­tive till­ing prac­tices and im­ple­ments have led to the degra­da­tion and ero­sion of one third of the world’s arable soils.”

Walker hopes that her mu­ral will start con­ver­sa­tions with vis­i­tors and lo­cals alike, as we ac­knowl­edge our roles as con­sumers of nat­u­ral re­sources. Farm­ers con­stantly have to de­cide whether and how ad­vance­ments in agri­cul­tural tech­nolo­gies and prac­tices can be ap­plied, also serv­ing their in­ter­ests as stew­ards of the land.

Walker con­cludes, “For over half a cen­tury, agron­o­mists, engi­neers, and farm­ers have been work­ing to find so­lu­tions. New farm­ing im­ple­ments, de­signed with soil health in

mind, have played a key role in this evolv­ing agri­cul­tural revo­lu­tion whilst main­tain­ing the del­i­cate bal­ance of labour, cli­mate change, and feed­ing an in­creas­ing world pop­u­la­tion. It is an image of hope.”

The mu­ral can be found Medford Road, Kingsport.

Un­veil­ing

This year the un­veil­ing of the 2018 artists’ work will be in three parts. Sim­i­lar to a mov­ing feast, where a dif­fer­ent dish is eaten in a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion, the Un­com­mon Com­mon Art open­ing will be staged across three dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions, high­light­ing three dif­fer­ent artists. At each lo­ca­tion par­tic­i­pants are in­vited to screen-print a three-part de­sign. Stay tuned for the un­veil­ing of each lo­ca­tion and artist.

About Un­com­mon Com­mon Art

Un­com­mon Com­mon Art is a sea­sonal, out­door, tem­po­rary ex­hibit lo­cated in Kings County. Cu­rated by Kate Ward, and a jury of art pro­fes­sion­als, the 2018 pro­gram exhibits 17 in­stal­la­tions.

UCA is pre­sented to vis­i­tors and res­i­dence free of charge mak­ing it com­pletely ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one. A colour guide­book is pro­duced mak­ing it easy to search for the pub­lic art in­stal­la­tions June through Oc­to­ber.

ERNEST CADEGAN

Artist, print­maker, and NSCAD pro­fes­sor Ericka Walker has cre­ated a mu­ral in the Un­com­mon Com­mon Art pro­ject for 2018. She ex­plores the sub­ject of agri­cul­ture, farm im­ple­ments, and the ad­vance­ment of sci­ence and how they im­pacted life and en­vi­ron­ment....

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