Wed 3 Nov–Sat 4 Dec 2021
10am–9pm Tues–Sat, free entry
Lighthouse, Poole | Art Gallery
Anna Frijstein, Helen Moore, David Buckland, James Murray-White
Opens: Wed 3 November 2021, 5–8pm
Exhibition runs: Thurs 4 November–Sat 4 December 2021
10am–9pm Tuesday–Saturday (closed Sundays and Mondays)
Lighthouse, Poole | Art Gallery
The RiverRun exhibition is the first fruits of a three-year long project. Working during the period of Covid, a group of four artists – David Buckland, founder/director of Cape Farewell; Anna Frijstein, a multidisciplinary artist; Helen Moore, an ecopoet and socially engaged artist; and James Murray-White, a filmmaker – have been in dialogue with Cape Farewell’s scientific partners and local farmers, engaging in a creative programme of research and development in and around Poole Bay and its watershed – the network of rivers that feed into this large natural harbour, and in particular the Frome, a chalk river, which flows through us all.
The RiverRun project has interrogated the way that land is farmed, the links between farm practices and the Poole Bay watershed, and how this directly impacts our lives and contributes to climate change. The Frome, famous for its Salmon run and breeding ground, is sadly under threat. Keeping the river in good health reflects the behaviour of all of us – how we produce and distribute our food, how we treat waste, and how we use these precious resources for recreation.
So orange that it hurts!
Live performance, painting, sculpture, 2021
My social-ecological interest in the research around Cape Farewell’s RiverRun project, has resulted in a kaleidoscopic body of work around Dorset’s struggling salmon and her swimming kin afar. “Alarming, alarming, global warming!” These increasing temperatures impact their land, waters and biodiverse bodies in many ways. From disrupting salmon’s reproduction patterns to having their food sources moved further up North. Now, only even fewer salmon, exhausted by their long journey, return home to the River Frome.
The installed work consists of two XL aquarium-shaped watercolour paintings, a ceramic mobile and a glass womb sculpture surrounded with chalk and heat responsive orange ‘salmon eggs’. Similar shapes repeat themselves across the work. An invasion of bright orange blobs and fluorescent yellow arms with tiny hands ready to carry and care. The screaming colour clash comes from my genuine fear for “inflammation!”, however, I strongly believe in the healing power of holding, carrying and caring together. A ritual will be performed live as part of the work on 3rd November at the Lighthouse in Poole.
Supported by the Mondriaan Fund, Amsterdam.
Dorset Waterbodies, a Common / Weal
Landscape poem sequence, 2021
My poem sequence Dorset Waterbodies, a Common / Weal was made with the support of Arts Council England funding over the course of 2020/1 for Cape Farewell’s RiverRun project. Informed by the research of scientists studying the watershed feeding into Poole Bay, and particularly the Salmon, who spawn upriver in the chalk streams, these texts (in 5 parts) voice the impacts of pollution and the climate crisis on the more-than-human world, and draw on my sense of people’s cooperative nature to inspire a collective response.
Developing Your Creative Practice funding has enabled me not only to engage in onsite fieldwork with river ecologists, microbiologists and oceanographers, but also to experiment with staging my first poetry exhibition in collaboration with the other Cape Farewell artists. In seeking diverse ways to engage audiences with ecopoetry, I’ve chosen to place extracts of my text on the gallery walls and to incorporate it into an installation within the space. Listen via SoundCloud.
I’m grateful to David Buckland for his support with creating this installation, to Mark Simmons for the image of Durdle Door, and to Michael Ormiston for recording the poems.
Photographs often are accompanied by text, to clarify the subject, where, when etc. During the year-long research process with the other artists, scientists and farmers, I gathered a series of very interesting images documenting the activity and influences. Each image told a story of how the River Frome was coping with the changes in climate, the pollution and how important it is to the Salmon run and for our own wellbeing. However, it became apparent that the image itself was often mysterious and needed text to give insight into what is happening in the photograph. For example the one above – what exactly were these grown men doing and why.
I was also interested in the layers of meaning behind each image, why it was important to us and what was the science behind it. The texts that are in and around each image are supplied by people I showed the photographs to, whether it be friends, other artists or scientists. It has been a great year of artistic research and storytelling, all based in Cape Farewell’s new artists studios at the WaterShed, as we artists discovered more and more about how our local ecology works and why it is stressed.
The River Frome cuts through the farmland that supplies our food, it cuts through our towns and villages and eventually to the urban sprawl of Poole Harbour. It also carries its own history as a chalk river and as one of our most important salmon runs. It is a symbol of all that’s strong about our complex society and all that is doing significant damage to the environment that supports its ecology. Importantly, the river also supports our own sense of wellbeing, a place of focus, recreation, food/farming and water.
Part of Cape Farewell’s wAteR-climaTe festival at Lighthouse, Poole, 3–10 Nov 2021. An inspiring and provocative climate and art festival featuring new visual art, film, spoken word, music, poetry and debate. Bringing current climate science to life with simplicity and directness. Find out more