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Graduate Expresses Environmental Protest in Art

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Graduate Expresses Environmental Protest in Art

A compelling art installation depicting global fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is Lillie Chapman’s sign-off to Hawke’s Bay, with the talented EIT graduate heading off to Australia later this month. (March 19)

As last year’s overall top Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design student at EIT’s ideaschool, Lillie was awarded a two-week exhibition sponsored by Mackersey Construction. Her installation is displayed in The Box, a glass-sided former shipping container set up in Waghorne Street, Ahuriri.

Her work portrays a collapsed Earth, representing the impact on the planet of radioactive leakage from the stricken nuclear power plant on Japan’s east coast. Three of Fukushima’s six nuclear reactors failed in the wake of the cataclysmic tsunami triggered by 2011’s Tohoku earthquake.

The ongoing aftermath “gnaws at the edges of my sanity,” says Lillie, who wound fluorescent green acrylic yarn around a hemispherical form to suggest radiation and a deformed globe and used fabric that she buried and later unearthed to convey decay on the continental land masses.

The installation, which includes an LED rope light, can also be viewed at night.

Lillie is moving to Melbourne, where she intends earning “bread money” while developing her art practice. Her aim next year is to start Master in Art Therapy studies at La Trobe University.

While studying at ideaschool, the 24-year-old from Whakatu also worked as a volunteer at the Stewart Centre@EIT. The centre, in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay campus, provides rehabilitation for people with brain injuries.

Lillie says she wants a rewarding job while still practising as an artist. And, excited for a new adventure, she believes the time is right for a change.

“I want to feel space and to see what’s going on in the wider art scene.”

She’s both sorry and pleased to have completed her bachelor’s degree.

“I’m happy to have finished but I’m no longer with my classmates and lecturers. I enjoyed their feedback and when you’re doing your own practice you don’t get that. It’s so valuable. You get so close to it sometimes you lose yourself.

“You definitely achieve more quickly by studying the degree than creating art by yourself.”

A capable science student at school, Lillie says she was encouraged to follow that direction in choosing tertiary studies.

“It took a while to harden up and do art, but some of my work does incorporate aspects of science.”


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