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