Urban Heat Island
Ray Atkins, Martin Horan, Sandra Carter, Wai Lam Cheung, Beverley Kirby, Barbara Hellman, Karl Hellman, Lauren Grabara, Raelene Wright, Jon Brew, Gloria Obbens, Sophie Temhoff, Greg McIntosh
Advanced Diploma students from Nepean Arts and Design Centre have been working in conjunction with Penrith City Council to create works responding to the idea of the Urban Heat Island Effect, where urban areas absorb heat and release it back into their surroundings, creating island of increased temperatures. The reduction of open ground, the increase in roadways and built structures, and the removal of trees all contribute to this.
For many of these artists this is an issue that strikes close to their heart. They live in the west of Sydney, an area always several degrees warmer than their coastal counterparts. It is also an area experiencing rapid growth, where it seems housing developments are replacing bushland at a rapid rate, forming islands of their own.
The resulting work is a compilation of pieces which range from local actions and interventions, to personal articulations and reflections, to pieces which engage with a larger environmental focus, showing concern with climate change, urbanisation and deforestation in general. The tree is a key symbol in many of these works, as negative associations with trees (they're messy, potentially dangerous, and can provide cover for individuals with nefarious intentions) contributes to the problem.
Creating works for video was a new experience for the artists, many of whom were more accustomed to traditional 2D disciplines, but one which was embraced enthusiastically as a collaboration between themselves and multi-media artist Peta Khan.