Tamatea – Dusky Sound exhibition launch

December 7, 2016

In the summer of 2015 we were invited, along with ten other artists by DOC to take part in an extraordinary art and conservation residency in Dusky Sound, Fiordland. The journey, the wilderness environment, the experiences and the friendships we shared  were significant to us.

We chose to spend a week working alone on Resolution Island. Two of the resultant environmental sculpture photographs and a video are now part of the touring exhibition Tamatea – Art and Conservation in Dusky Sound which is to be officially launched in Invercargill: Southland Museum and Art Gallery, 17 December 2016 – February 19 2017.Antarctic sculpture 5 (7)


Tamatea – Art and Conservation in Dusky Sound has been developed by DOC in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ōraka Aparima, and is supported by the New Zealand National Parks and Conservation Foundation.


River Guardian

September 22, 2016

Philippa Jones and Martin Hill

Protecting our rivers, the source of life, has become as urgent as protecting the air we breathe and the climate we rely on.

This is what inspired us to create River Guardian recently. The end-of-winter conditions mean that the daytime air temperature rises, causing mist to swirl just above the cold surface of the water. We thought this would be an eerie setting for a temporary installation.


We made the Guardian by first constructing a strong framework of branches – cuttings from the regular trimming of the thriving native kanuka trees where we live. As we attached more branches we could trim it to the shape we wanted. We wheeled it down to the river and wearing waders we experimented by installing it at different spots and waited patiently for the mist to flow along the river.river-guardian-philippa-installingThe source of the mighty Clutha River is Lake Wanaka. It carries a huge flow of water from the great mountains and glaciers of the Southern Alps.

Rivers are the arteries of the land and are vital to the health of ecosystems, to the species who have flourished in these habitats and to the people who rely on them for drinking water and recreation. The sculpture is intended to symbolise the need to watch over and protect the river.river-guardianmartin

In our region of Wanaka in Central Otago, New Zealand there is much discussion about protecting the water table, rivers and lakes from the increase in habitation and industrial agriculture, particularly conversion of farms to intensive dairy farming using pivot irrigation, imported feed stock with little management of the resulting effluent.

The push for more economic growth at the expense of the environment and water quality has led to dramatic decline in water quality in many rivers and lakes in other lowland parts of New Zealand. Now there is danger to the water systems of our once pristine highland water catchments.


ArtBio Brazil: an interview

July 15, 2016

ArtBio is a Brazilian web based nonprofit organisation that develops science communication projects and promotes cultural and educational activities to share knowledge through art.

ArtBio published Shadow of Man, (below) made on Ross Island Antarctica in 2014 with the support of Antarctica New Zealand.

martin hill1

Interview with ArtBio Brazil’s Jade Kastrup:

ArtBio: The famous phrase of Lavousier “In nature nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything changes” is perhaps the best definition of the cyclical processes of nature. These days, where does humanity fit in these processes?

Martin Hill: Humanity is intimately part of nature. Humans are animals with large brains and it has given us an advantage over all other species to over exploit our ecological niche, which we have, during the past few hundred years, expanded to include the whole biosphere.

Since nature operates cyclically in a closed system with only sunlight added, humans must either abide by the same cyclical operating principles or destroy the natural systems on which we rely with our linear systems. At present the human ecological footprint is outstripping ecological resources by a factor of three.

ArtBio: Your striking sculptures are almost always ephemeral, produced with ice, branches, leaves, sticks and stones, and installed in sparsely populated areas. The photograph allows immortalization of your work, seen in person by few. In a world where we are all photographers from social networks, in your opinion, what is the main role of photography?

Martin Hill: I use photography in my art practice to document my ephemeral sculptures. I believe photography is a communication medium through which artists can express ideas and emotions that cannot be communicated as well by other mediums. Although the camera can lie, it has the ability to document reality and show us ourselves and our relationships with each other and nature in the most powerful ways in the hands of a good photographer. Now that photography has come to be placed in the hands of us all, to access its power we must be more responsible, more creative and more discerning in making images and in viewing them.

ArtBio: A recent survey conducted by Ibope at the request of WWF, indicates that, for 58% of Brazilians, the natural wealth of Brazil is the biggest reason of national pride. At the same time, of 10 respondents, eight consider that nature is not adequately protected. However, environmental issues are left out of electoral debates and some influential people think that environmentalists are fanatics who exchange facts for beliefs. What do you think about that?

Martin Hill: The general public is obviously concerned about the environment and the ecological destruction it is witnessing. If this is left out of political debates it is because the rich elite with vested interest in the industries that are causing the destruction are allowed the power to influence the debate. In many cases around the world these vested interests misrepresent scientific facts and deny the damaging effects of their industries on ecology, people and climate. The extractive industries are clever at misrepresenting the need for ecological and climate protection by denying scientific facts in favour of their non scientific beliefs.

This interview is one in a series of interviews titled “Antropocena” in which contemporary artists and researchers discuss the marks of human activity on Earth and rethink the ways of humanity.




Gold award won in international award

June 12, 2016





My series of land art photographs The Guardians has won 1st prize in the Conceptual category in FAPA, the International Fine Art Awards. FAPA received almost 4000 submissions from 83 countries around the world. Winners were selected by a panel of international judges, including Qingjun Huang, Carolyn Guild, Klaus Kampert, Pini Hamou, Rupert Vandervell, Pongsatorn Sukhum, Kilian Schönberger, Peter Kool, Lara Zankoul and GMB Akash.

The second series I entered In Search of Synergy was shortlisted as a nominee for the same category, Conceptual.

Philippa and I are honoured that our sculptures and my photographs are recognised by these international professional judges. We hope this recognition will help to spread our work and ideas to an ever larger international audience.


The Fine Line is “Heralded”

April 8, 2016

We have travelled to exhibit in Andorra, China and Venice in the past year but it is always nice to be recognised back home in New Zealand.

Thanks to the New Zealand Herald for writing about our work on the Fine Line Project. We are on the home stretch now to complete the last two works on the line around the earth which begins and ends in New Zealand.

FL New Zealand

We are discussing the project with international sponsorship partners for the film, book and exhibitions. Interested potential partners please contact us.



Finalist – Arte Laguna Prize, Venice

April 7, 2016

Philippa and I have just returned from Venice where an environmental artwork “Synergy” is exhibited as a finalist in the Arte Laguna Prize exhibition along with works by 115 other international artists from 30 countries. The exhibition opening and award ceremony was a glittering affair at the Arsenale Venice where we were one of ten finalists in the new Land Art category.Martin+Philippa. Arte Laguna

After a week exploring the history, beauty and art of Venice we travelled to Corsica where we explored the beauty of the mountains, granite rock climbing and hiking. The Corsican landscape is spectacular and in March is uncrowded if a little chilly.IMG_0804

 Martin at the top of Arete de Zonza, a 12 pitch climb at Col de Bovella

P Hiking Corsica



Sofitel So Hua Hin RoomFinally we went to an Accor luxury beach hotel Sofitel Hua Hin Thailand where 35 of our environmental artworks adorn the walls of 5 star rooms. My job: to sign them all.

Returning to our home in the mountains of New Zealand we are struck as always by the natural beauty of the landscape and reminded of how lucky we are to live and work here.


Architectural Digest recognition

February 24, 2016

When a design publication as illustrious as Architectural Digest recently published our land art photographs, we were impressed.

AD Magazine

Recognition at this international level is gratifying because it means that the regenerative design philosophy that underpins our art practice has finally become acceptable to the establishment.

Now the question is how long will it take for the old linear design philosophy to become obsolete?


‘Weblog of the Year’ noticed us

January 31, 2016


iGNANT the global award winning art-design-architecture website selected some our works for a curated piece on their current weblog.

iGNANT has 500,000  visitors per month. Our work is reaching wider and wider audiences.

We hope this can be chanelled into action for positive environmental change.



Nature Sculptures Exist Between Natural and Man-Made Beauty

January 21, 2016

Ice Planet , Antarctica 2014

The Creators Project from New York has profiled our recent work.  The Creators Project is a global celebration of creativity, arts and technology. Launched in 2009 with Intel as founding partner, the platform features the works of “visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression”.

Beckett Mufson, the associate editor was impressed with our “man-meets-nature images” and profiled our art practice featuring works from recent exhibitions in Australia, China and Europe.Rain-Forest-Guardian


A new beginning

January 5, 2016

COP21 The Paris Climate Summit agreement is a world first.

187 countries committing to aim for a reduction in their carbon emissions that hold global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees above pre industrial levels. This represents a watershed decision towards solving the climate crisis. However their total pledges will barely hold temperatures below 3 degrees of warming, which climate scientists agree will be catastrophic.

So this is where the really hard work begins. It signals the end of business as usual for the energy industries. Future investment will need to be compatible with a zero carbon world.

We were pleased to make our creative contribution towards the shift to a low carbon circular economy in line with nature, with images and the story of our 20 year art practice recognised in issue No.1 of Open Resource magazine. The magazine features innovative approaches to the resource revolution and circular economy that are so urgently needed by all nations.


You can learn about this revolution in a fluid form version of Open Resource magazine here.

We are hopeful that 2016 will mark a turning point in history when the world community recognises and acts upon its obligations towards protecting all future life.