Ephemera in the Mist – Environmental Art Festival, Paluma

Ephemera in the Mist is an environmental art festival featuring installations in the rainforest of Paluma between August 25th and September 9th. I went to the inaugural festival last year and enjoyed it – see this report. This year’s event follows the same format. It has two key components:

Rainforest Organic Art Trail, a series of site-specific ephemeral installations built in the rainforest around Paluma. The artworks will be created within strict environmental guidelines and will be left in situ to gradually disintegrate back into the forest floor.

Village Sculpture Walk, a separate show in Paluma Village of enduring sculptural works with an environmental theme, created predominantly from recycled materials.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the People’s Choice in each of these two exhibitions.

Complementary activities include an exhibition of small artworks in the Community Hall; an artists’ marketplace on the village green; free art workshops with guest and local tutors; nature walks guided by a resident naturalist; artist talks; and a display of environmentally proactive products and organisations.

Official opening: August 25th
Workshops & Artists Market: August 15th & 26th. Entry is free.
Sculpture trail will be on show until Sept 9th
More information: 0418 750 854 (Sue Tilley) or http://www.ephemerainthemist.com/

Ephemera in the Mist

straw figure in rainforest
Straw Lady

The villagers of Paluma, high in the rainforest an hour or two north of Townsville, seem to have been collectively inspired by the city’s ‘Strand Ephemera.’

Their ‘Ephemera in the Mist’ last weekend emulated Townsville by presenting a series of ‘ephemeral’ sculptures and installations beside the main road and threaded along a tiny walking track through the rainforest on the edge of town, and went one better by complementing that show with a more conventional exhibition in the community hall, stalls selling art and craft works, and workshops.

Visitor numbers on Sunday were good without making it feel crowded. The weather helped the event live up to its name with mist, fine drizzle, brief showers and sunny breaks on a five minute rotation. We enjoyed the change, actually, after so many months without rain in town. I don’t know which artwork won the ‘people’s choice’ award but we had no doubt of our own favourite, Marion Gaemers’ nearly life-size Straw Lady sitting comfortably on a mossy rock beside the tiny creek.

Other sculptures were less ephemeral, or more. Unfired clay sculptures were already dissolving back into the ground; fragile constructions of sticks and twine modelled on bower-birds’ bowers were not going to last much longer; and the mandala by Sue Taylor explicitly, and beautifully, celebrated ‘the cycles of birth, growth, death and renewal of the rainforest plants.’

Leaf-litter mandala
Mandala

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sand mandalas are made to be equally ephemeral; their value as meditation objects is in the focus needed to construct them and they are ritually unmade soon after they are completed. Here’s one I saw made by the Gyuto monks in Hobart in 2008:

Sand mandala
Sand Mandala
Mandala detail
Mandala detail