On our way back home from China we spent some days in Tokyo. Our agent in Japan, Hisae Koyanagi had organized a two hour presentation at Seikei University eco campus.
Discussing solutions to ecological damage and climate change which my work addresses is a daunting enough prospect with an English speaking audience. Add the complications of language and cultural differences and the task becomes problematic.
However with some strategic planning in advance and a brilliant translator I think we pulled it off. Ms Akoyoshi translated my text weeks in advance and read up about my art and philosophy so that she had a deep understanding prior to the talk.
Professor Suzuki promoted the talk with posters, flyers and a huge digital presentation in the students’ modern cafe.
All went well with plenty of questions and dialogue. Tachi Kiuchi a leader in sustainable business attended along with media, academic and design professionals and students.
Alterna published an article featuring my work and talk.
I am confident my message was not lost in translation.
We began with an improvised exhibition space in a disused diesel engine factory built within an ancient walled Chinese city and ended with an international award at a ceremony that attempted to rival the Oscars.
Philippa and I exhibited with Craig Potton and Ian McDonald at Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP) last month. John B Turner curated the show titled To Save a Forest: New Zealand artists concerned with environmental conservation.
Pingyao, in the Shanxi province south of Beijing is the most intact ancient walled city in China. This Unesco World Heritage site was host to the 14th PIP festival September 2014.
With about 20,000 photographic prints by 2100 photographers, the 45 invited international exhibitors were accommodated in a traditional courtyard hotel where we ate mingled and exchanged ideas each day for a week. The exhibitors, curators and art and photography enthusiasts all rubbed shoulders in the biggest creative melting pot imaginable, aided by a troop of young Chinese volunteers who also acted as translators.
The grand opening took place with fanfares, drummers and performances on a massive stage just under the main city gate ringed with TV cameras on cranes, a drone camera and a horde of fans.
Getting to all of the exhibits was a daunting task along with trying to fit in our own floor talks and presentations and view those of others.
However we saw many tremendous shows including some very strong Chinese work alongside big names from Europe, USA, South America, Scandinavia and Australia.
It came as a surprise to be honoured with an award for photographic excellence among so much outstanding photography and I am grateful to the judges for recognising my work in this way. Since the Watershed exhibition consisted of my photographs of environmental sculptures made in collaboration with Philippa Jones I also wish to acknowledge Philippa’s contribution to the success of this body of work into which we both put our creativity for more than a year.