Contemporary Pastoralism

Introducing a new project in the research and development stage, Contemporary Pastoralism, from Nancy Winship Milliken Studio

   Tika Whare     on a New Zealand sheep farm. I spent a month building a structure out of bamboo from the farm and weaving wool from the surrounding sheep into silage netting. 2012

Tika Whare  on a New Zealand sheep farm. I spent a month building a structure out of bamboo from the farm and weaving wool from the surrounding sheep into silage netting. 2012

Immersed in the wave of the back to the land, local and organic food movement, this project is an investigative process and response to the materials, animals, environment and small farming practices that shape the pastoral landscape. Of particular interest to me is the birth and slaughter, give and take contract between humans, animals and how that is reflected in the farming practice and the land. As the small farms and rural landscapes, both nationally and internationally, become my studio, I will engage with the elemental nature of farming as well as re-invent that engagement.

Living and working on various small farms will allow me the time and space to be more than a witness, steeped in the materials, beating hearts and mud of the farms. The agricultural rhythms, textures, smells and sounds of each farm all inform the resulting installations, sculptures and prints. The authenticity of materials will present a textural sensory antidote to our increasing separation from nature. Working in collaboration with farmers and animals, non-utilitarian art will co-exist with essential crafts of the small farm. This artistic collaboration and process itself is a performance to be documented and as a result so will the character of each farm and it’s humans.

In the tradition of rural art, the local community of the small farms will be engaged. The site-responsive sculpture, prints, performance documentation and resulting book will be brought out of its rural context through gallery/museum tours, and employing social media and web-based video.