Seeing Grasslands - David Wong and Chris Holly

2011-06-02 18:00
2011-06-19 14:00

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The 'Seeing Grasslands' exhibition is one outcome of a project that had its genesis early in 2010 when David Wong, a PhotoAccess member, saw the potential of photography to help raise awareness of the natural environment.

A successful application for assistance from the ACT Government’s 2010 ACT Environment Grants saw the project begin late last year with the aim of raising the profile of grasslands and encouraging interest in this highly threatened ecosystem, the natural environment generally and photography through community participation, online initiatives and this exhibition. The Molonglo Catchment Group has administered the project which has also involved Friends of Grasslands and PhotoAccess.

In November 2010, thirteen people with cameras took part in the first Seeing Grasslands photography workshop. The aim of the workshop was to encourage people to enjoy the grasslands and their photography and, hopefully, learn something along the way. Images from the workshop were shared with participants and the wider community through the Seeing Grasslands Flickr Group.

Since then the project team has developed the Seeing Grasslands blog, explaining what has been happening and what is about to happen with the project.

And now the Seeing Grasslands exhibition takes its part in this jigsaw of activities, with a selection of images from David Wong and well known Canberra photographer Chris Holly in the HUW DAVIES GALLERY.

PhotoAccess was pleased to support the Seeing Grasslands project because of our interest in stories and images that help us understand the place we live in. We are impressed by the diversity and breadth of the work that has been done to date and the level of community involvement the project has generated.

Wong and Holly have a serious purpose in this exhibition. The images are clear and well selected to give us an insight into the secrets of grasslands, places that are too readily overlooked. The celebrities of the natural environment are the rainforests and marine environments that take up so much of television programming and media reporting. But the environmental importance of grasslands needs to be better understood and this exhibition and the Seeing Grasslands project will play a part in addressing the problem. I like the whimsical approach the artists have taken to titling their work and nudging the subject closer to our everyday experience and understanding of the world. They have used a light touch to avoid the alienating effect an over emphasis on scientific terminology might have had on the viewing audience.

We are pleased that the Seeing Grasslands project appears to have successfully brought photography to the service of serious environmental issues and delighted to share 'Seeing Grasslands' with visitors to the HUW DAVIES GALLERY.

David Chalker