• Gordon MacLellan

Kiss the Earth

Book review:


Quaker artists explore sustainability

Ed: Linda Murgatroyd

ISBN 978-0-9933627-7-4

Paperback, £10.00

Order from Quaker Arts Network

Reviewer: Gordon MacLellan, CelebrationEarth! arts coordinator

It is very easy for visual art around environmental issues to really just be illustrations of someone else’s point. Finding art that has its own statement to make is harder

Built around themes ranging from a reflective “reverence for nature” to considering issues in “climate emergency” and the resolution to act with “witness and activism”, this collection of pieces grew out of a 2019 exhibition of Quaker artists and embraces a whole creative ecosystem of media and styles. There are the textiles of the continuing Loving Earth Project, painting, pyrography, printing (Ocean footprints is my personal favourite…I have a thing about seaweeds)

“I find making art deeply satisfying and sometimes also deeply frustrating.” Hilary Prosser, p8.

Each of the pieces has its own page with a reflection from the artist on their process or on their thinking behind this piece. This makes for an intriguing read. While this collection started in an exhibition, this isn’t some self-important exhibition catalogue. It could easily have been one of those waffling, art-speak irritations but it isn’t. Instead there are honest, amusing, thoughtful comments to give the reader something more than images to think about. There is beauty here and tragedy as well….koalas in a bush fire is hardly the subject for a gentle artwork ( a Loving Earth Project panel) and a gentleness that verges on horror with the images of polar bear and woman in Melting.

For someone looking on from outside the Quaker movement, these images and their comments reinforces a sense of a quiet determination within Quakers: a resolution to do what they as individuals can without a lot of noise but with a sense of deep integrity.

“I feel that this (sustainability) ties in with Quaker witness and values….” Nigel Maynard, p23

And this is a book full of lovely pictures (can we have postcards please?) and when you are feeling inspired and frustrated, perhaps look at the Loving Earth work and stitch your own feelings into fabric.

“My art…reflects my love, respect and appreciation of the magic of Nature:

she gives us so much but asks for nothing in return.” Shona Cameron p3

Get your own copy!

Available through the Quaker Arts Network. There is a significant discount for 3 or more copies so how about a bit of Midwinter/Christmas shopping?

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