Portrait of The Ecological Self
Is there an ‘ecological self’? Is there a place within us that remembers we are nature? Can this ‘self’ hold the answers about how to live sustainably within the cycles and limits of our home planet? I explore these questions through the art project, Portrait of the Ecological Self.
Since the ‘ecological self’ is not always visible in our physical form, we might not see ourselves as especially connected to nature. Using natural materials, I have created a series of inventive portraits that allows me to think in terms of being interconnected with all of nature. In this view, the traditional portrait changes to include more than the physical body and now includes nature’s materials, rhythms, and other species. Wasp paper becomes skin and roots grow from feet. We now may become a cave, a bee, or a bush, challenging even the notion of ‘self.’
Many of us have forgotten our personal relationships with nature. Through the project, Portrait of the Ecological Self, I bring these experiences to the surface, writing them into the skin. These portraits can then influence others to remember their deeper connections with nature. They become a meditation on how natural processes such as cell propagation, bees building honeycomb, changes in weather, seasons, time, life, birth and decay, become the symbolic language of life. Perhaps, if we can rediscover these powerful connections, we can be inspired to act in ways that protect our loved places and species. This ideal is at the core of my artwork.
Funding has been made possible by the Puffin Foundation Ltd.