Issue 13
Tuesday, 02 August 2016
Charles Darwin University
E-news
John Dahlsen, Plastic Mix Fusion Print, 2015, digital and woodblock print of plastic found objects. This is a portion of the work.
John Dahlsen, Plastic Mix Fusion Print, 2015, digital and woodblock print of plastic found objects. This is a portion of the work.

Dahlsen finds beauty in washed up ocean litter

By Patrick Nelson

Sixty works of art by award-winning environmental artist John Dahlsen will go on exhibition as part of the Darwin Festival this month.

“Echoes” will be Mr Dahlsen’s first major Territory exhibition and will feature sculptures, prints and paintings he created over the past four years as part of his PhD with Charles Darwin University.

The exhibition will run from August 15-21 at the Double Tree by Hilton Esplanade.

“It’s the culmination of my PhD work in which I’ve explored environmental art from the perspective of activism, aesthetics and transformation,” Mr Dahlsen said. “The paintings and prints mimic the sculptures in a way that the whole body of work is really just one big installation about environmental art.”

The sculptures are made of plastic ocean litter, some of which was gathered on the beaches across the Top End after the last mini cyclone in early 2014 and since then on regular gathering excursions.

Mr Dahlsen said the work reflected his role as an environmental artist in a time when damage to the environment and economic choices by government challenged the ideals of environmentalism.

“This is a protest against recklessness on the part of policy makers but it is also my way of contributing to new ways of seeing environmental problems,” he said. “It is both an activist and an aesthetic statement about contemporary society.”

Mr Dahlsen’s work has featured in several exhibitions around the world this year, although this is his first major show in Darwin in 2016. 

“Echoes” will be housed in the Reflections Art Gallery at Double Tree Hilton on the Esplanade. It is an officially endorsed event of the Darwin Festival and will be opened by former CDU Chancellor Her Honour, the Honourable Sally Thomas at 6pm on Friday, 19 August.