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Arts Connect Inc. (ACI) is a not-for-profit organisation based in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, who organise annual events such as Sculpture on the Edge, open studios and artist workshops. New members are always welcome – visit artsconnectinc.com.au.

This month we hear from ACI member, Yanni Van Zijl, who recently won Sculpture on the Edge 2019 at Spicers Tamarind, with her entry, Anew.

Yanni is a multi-disciplinary, award-winning artist who creates 3D, site-specific and installation work, her recurring themes are about issues concerning the environment and man’s footprint. 

Yanni aims to create visual work that stimulates provocation; to shift us to action or at the very least arouse discussion and raise awareness.

“It is fair to say nature inspires me. I am a great believer you have to give something back, we are incredibly fortunate to live where we live, so it is the least I can do.

“I usually create work with an environmental message or theme, however my ceramic work is often an experiment around aesthetics in line, form and flow.

“When creating Anew, I had walked the gardens at Spicers Tamarind, looking at sites that appealed and where I knew the work would sit subtly within that space. I had earlier made tiny ceramic seed sprouts mounted in charcoal, that sculpture was about how the forest has this amazing ability to regenerate after fire. These measured only eight centimetres in size, but back then I thought how can I make these two metres in size? 

“It was a struggle finding a method and way to achieve it, what colour should they be, the idea of growing the moss onto them evolved, straight away I knew that would be perfect. It is fair to say I did not realise at the time how difficult that would be. My concept was: in order for a forest to be healthy, we need the smallest to the tallest within it to be in balance.  

“Nurturing the moss over these past months made me realise that it was just like a forest in tiny scale, a microcosm of activity dwells at this level.

“The fern design was a reflection of the new fern leaves that unfurl near the tree fern glade in which they are placed. When I placed them there someone said had I not been standing there he would have thought that they were there naturally of their own account, the idea of this pleased me, that the work was quiet and sensitive to the site, almost overlooked.

“I am now working toward a sensory exhibition about renewables, oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight , drought and flood, human impact on the planet and our role in that, and the exhibition will encompass film, installation and sound.”

We will keep you posted! 

Sculpture on the Edge at Spicers Tamarind in 2018, awarded artist Yanni Van Zijl, photo Candice Herne