Artist throws the se­cond part of her ‘garbage party’ at In­dian Bat­tle Park

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta - BY HEATHER CAMERON

Southeest Al­berta artist, Ari­anna Richard­son, sported an art ex­hibit called ‘Garbage Party: Part II’ in In­dian Bat­tle Park near the Baroness Pic­nic Shel­ter from Sept. 22-28.

Richard­son is a sculp­tor, per­for­mance artist, and mother from Treaty Seven ter­ri­tory in Leth­bridge and has re­cently grad­u­ated with an MFA from NSCAD Univer­sity in Hal­i­fax, NS. Richard­son also holds a BFA with Dis­tinc­tion in Stu­dio Arts from the Univer­sity of Leth­bridge.

Sev­eral aca­demic awards, in­clud­ing the Roloff Beny Pho­tog­ra­phy Schol­ar­ship in 2012 and the Al­berta Arts Grad­u­ate Schol­ar­ship, are also part of her il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer as an artist.

Garbage Party: Part I was dis­played in Galt Gar­dens from Septem­ber 15-21 and Richard­son was on site both times to per­form on-site main­te­nance and con­duct a short sur­vey with vis­i­tors.

“I have been want­ing to in­ves­ti­gate whether or not chang­ing the ap­pear­ance of pub­lic waste in­fra­struc­ture (mak­ing it more vis­ually ap­peal­ing or unique) would change our at­ti­tude about and re­la­tion­ship with waste and garbage,” Richard­son said. “This is an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion of which Garbage Party is only the most re­cent it­er­a­tion.”

The project, Richard­son says, al­lows vis­i­tors to in­ter­act with a 10-foot long waste re­cep­ta­cle handcrafted from hard­ware mesh and wo­ven with bril­liant, ny­lon para­cord by leav­ing garbage in the proper places within the ex­hibit. It was funded by a City of Leth­bridge Pub­lic Art Small Projects Grant.

“It is eye-catch­ing and a beau­ti­fully con­structed ob­ject,” Richard­son said. “A hand­made waste re­cep­ta­cle is not some­thing one en­coun­ters in usual life. The topic is some­thing that peo­ple are more aware of at this time and peo­ple are be­com­ing more aware of how waste­ful our so­ci­ety is.”

Richard­son says that this ex­hibit asks the pub­lic ques­tions about their re­la­tion­ship with waste and re­cy­cling, pre­sent­ing a play­ful and ab­surd site in which to con­sider and dis­cuss the im­pact of the waste.

“I am very happy with the way the piece came to­gether,” Richard­son said. “I worked on it for about 3 straight months and, be­cause it is so large (10 ft X 4 ft x 1.5 ft), I had to cre­ate it in pieces in my stu­dio. When I fi­nally as­sem­bled in on site I was ec­static with the fi­nal re­sult. I have also en­joyed my daily vis­its to the site where I pick up trash, record my find­ings, and con­duct a sur­vey with vis­i­tors.”

This ex­hi­bi­tion, Richard­son says, was in­tended for all au­di­ences. Richard­son adds that everyone cre­ates waste/ garbage or has ex­pe­ri­ence with waste/garbage and that the main rea­son for bring­ing her work out of the tra­di­tion gallery set­ting and into the pub­lic sphere was to broaden her po­ten­tial au­di­ence, not just mak­ing work for peo­ple who go to art gal­leries.

“I think that it is meant to pro­voke rather than in­spire,” Richard­son said.

“I want peo­ple to be made more aware of the waste­ful­ness of our so­ci­ety and our com­mu­nal com­plic­ity in the sys­tem of con­sump­tion. Whether this ac­tu­ally re­sults in real ac­tions on the part of the viewer, I am not sure.”

Pho­tos of the Garbage Party ex­hibit taken by An­ge­line Si­mon and contributed by Ari­anna Richard­son.

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