We are moving into autumn here in Wanaka – perfect conditions for us to work on the next stage of the “Watershed Project”.
On Easter Friday we helicopter up to Whare Kea Chalet opposite Mt Aspiring on Albert Burn Saddle to embark on the second part of the Kenneth Myer Artist and Writers Alpine Retreat.
Since we began the project Philippa and I have created more than 20 works about the relationship between human systems and the water cycle. These works and others still to be produced will become an exhibition to be shown in Australia and in New Zealand.
Making this body of work has become a significant event for us and I am hopeful that it will be seen by as many people as possible.
Working in our local mountain landscapes that we know and love gives us a tremendous sense of belonging and we hope this comes through in the work we make.
It is six months since we left Albert Burn Saddle in deep snow conditions. Now it will be bereft of snow until the first storms begin to fill the gullies again. Now there will be tussock, snowgrass and bare rock to walk over, but Mt Aspiring will be wearing its cloak of icy glaciers until the climate warms enough to finally take them.
In the summer months we have been busy making works at lower altitudes in the valleys about the water system.
We have encountered floods that nearly flooded our town of Wanaka and caused much track damage in the river valleys where the immense force of the rushing water undermined river banks, causing land slides that took full size beech trees downstream. Since then a full scale drought set in which has damaged farm crops and set records for low rainfall.
Is this what we can expect from now on?
We will be posting reports on our and progress on the project over the next two weeks.
I hope you enjoy the process as much as we will.