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Kenyon College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and Environmental Action

Abstract

As the planet’s population increases, so does the demand for mass-produced food products. The result of the increase in demand has been the rapid development of the factory farming industry. A prominent component of the factory farmed by-product industry is the battery cage egg-farming scheme, which has cultivated immense amounts of ecological damage to the hens and environment involved. The damage studied includes: air and water pollution, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and fossil fuel use. The environmental damage is prevalent throughout the Australian state of New South Wales, and the public must be informed.

The visual arts were utilized as the primary tool in educating individuals and encouraging action for positive and sustainable change. To ensure that the works accurately and educationally depicted the local impacts of the battery cage industry, an in depth study into the background of the business was conducted. The research involved the viewing of several documentaries, the reading of activist articles, and the interviewing of two individuals. The interviewees included: Catherine Smith and Wally Waldron. Smith is the founder of the NSW Hen Rescue Organization in Sydney, NSW and provided extensive knowledge on the impacts of the battery cage industry. Waldron is the co-owner of Nashua Valley Organics in Nashua, NSW, and conferred in depth knowledge of the benefits of local farming.

The series, entitled “Dozens”, is composed of a diptych, and a collection of five smaller works, and was constructed in Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia. The medium used was mixed-media, including: crushed eggshells, egg cartons, wire, colored pencil, and cray-pas. The materials used embody the sustainable message, connecting the aesthetics to the inspirational message beneath.

In gauging the effectiveness of the work the spectator’s response was studied, through participant observation. The research was undertaken at the Blue Knob Gallery Farmers Market, in Lillian Rock, at which the works were shown. My observations indicated that the works were well received, effectively conveying a sustainable consumption message, and an inspiring invitation for action.

Disciplines

Food Processing | Growth and Development

 

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