Posts Tagged ecofeminist art

Eco(feminist) Art

Nancy Klehm came to campus on the 21st of March and gave a talk about sustainability, connection to the earth and innovative ways to approach these issues.  She came to campus as a guest lecturer for the Eco-Art class and toured campus with the Center for Sustainability Education.  Though she does not outwardly identify as either an artist or a feminist, but rather as a steward of the earth.  This humble association is thoroughly ecofeminist in its origins.  Her qualifications range from ecological systems designer, landscaper, horticultural consultant, permacultural grower, consultant, speaker, and teacher.

Her talk began with a description of her home in Chicago.  She lives in a densely populated eco-village in the center of Chicago in the Little Village neighborhood (pictured below).  From her home-base practices urban agriculture modeled after the permaculture model and cares for an urban orchard.  In addition, she practices urban food foraging (below) when venturing out to wider ranges of the city.



In her artwork, she often plays upon conceptions of consumption and utility.  Through her projects she often comments on patterns and conceptions of normalcy.  In her recent work (below) she has shown the ways in which food decomposes.  This process known widely as composting fits can intersect within modern art.  As Nancy explained, she does not try to sway her audience’s perception of the piece with speech but rather with interesting titles.  One example of this is called the “Great Giveback”.  In this project, Nancy asked willing couples to donate their “materials” for composting.  She provided households with a home-made toilet in which composting material could be collected.  She then took these materials and mixed them with nutrient additives (nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon) so that an appropriate soil composition could be reached.  Then, she gave the compost back to the participants so that they could use it in their own gardening endeavors.  These projects illustrate much of the material we have covered in class.  In Soil Not Oil Vanadana Shiva speaks of the importance of soil composition as it is the basis for all life.  It is threatened by development and pseudo-solutions to issues that disproportionately impact women.  By making the process of soil regeneration a local one, the impacts of globalization are lessened. It is making a global issue, a local one.  This is not only discussed in Vanadana Shiva’s book, but in many ecofeminist movements.  The talk given in class on Project Share illustrates this, as do the actions taken by the Chipko women.






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