singing up the earth

Miriam Louisa Simons, artwork, Cantito series

cantito series – installation view

cantito (Latin): I sing often or repeatedly

This series of small tablets began in late 2020, in Witta, Queensland, following on from the Caselberg residency in Dunedin, New Zealand.  In the lockdown context, necessity had dictated the use of materials and items found, given or salvaged and I found those restrictions full of creative potential.

Back in NZ in 2021, I continued exploring the materials and format in my retreat cabin at Arthur’s Point, then at various pit-stops during the year: Cromwell, Queenstown, Nelson, Bluff, Portobello.  I wanted the title of the series to say something about my devotion to Mother Earth, however it took months for the word I was looking for to show up.  Eventually it was prompted by these words from Paulus Berensohn:

It’s the artist’s work to sing up the earth,
to praise and thank and express gratitude.

Exactly! These small pieces are little songs of devotion to Mother Earth, to whom I sing often and repeatedly.

Sizes vary; most are approximately 10.5 x 15 x 2cm.
Materials: Corrugated cardboard, salvaged papers, tissue paper, off-cuts from old works, chalk (gesso), filler, tea, coffee, ink, rust, found objects.

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Paulus Berensohn (1933 – 2017) was a dancer, ceramic artist, educator, environmentalist, and all-round inspiration.
The quote above is from a conversation he had with an ABC interviewer while visiting Australia and spending time with Aboriginal elders.
You can read the transcript at this link to the ABC archives.

For more information about his life and work, visit the Penland School of Craft website.