2012 marked the 300th year commemoration of the wreck of the Zuytdorp (a trading ship of the Dutch East India Company) on the coast north of the tiny town of Kalbarri in Western Australia.
The year was marked with a fun weekend of events known as the Kalbarri Zest Festival. It featured an art exhibition called “Still Life, Our Life”. Artists from Western Australia were encouraged to enter and their work had to be inspired by the paintings of the Dutch Old Masters, particularly the still life genre. The exhibition displayed reproductions of the still life paintings of the Dutch masters, showing the rich array of fruit and delicacies that the Dutch East India company had brought back from many corners of the earth way back in the 1700’s and the artworks of contemporary artists who examined how life has changed in modern society. My watercolour painting, “Abundance” was accepted as part of the exhibition.
Below is the information about the painting that I wrote for the exhibition book.
“My artwork is inspired by the Dutch Masters still life paintings with their rich array of fruit, looking succulent and ripe and ready to eat. These paintings show how exotic and extravagant these food items were in Dutch culture and reflected the wealth and prosperity of the household. They hinted at the fleeting nature of such prosperity, which, like a ripened piece of fruit, can wither and rot and become worthless.
In contemporary Australian society we have ready access to a huge variety of fresh produce, many grown in Australia and some imported from overseas. It is cheap and available at any time of the year regardless of when it was harvested. All this abundance has made us complacent. We take for granted such luxuries and dispose of leftovers and excess with disregard. Food that is slightly blemished is left to rot and goes to waste. Or we buy too much and it is left in the fridge to spoil only to be thrown out.
My artwork shows this abundance of fruit, once seen as exotic, precious and treasured, now, overwhelming in choice and availability. Rampant consumerism, armed with a small fork, ready to take on a super-sized portion.
But the crows are circling, ready for when it will wither and rot ……..”
Stay posted for this year’s Kalbarri Zest Festival Art Exhibition – “Far from Home”.