'Soil Culture: Dig It’ launches at Plymouth University this week. The exhibition is part of a three-year programme of cultural events across the South West region that encourages visitors to look beyond the surface of earth, mud, dirt and grit to find its underlying beauty and purpose in our existence.
Supported by the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW), Soil Culture: Dig It responds to the UN International Year of Soils, which aims to highlight the importance of earth through a series of thought provoking talks and workshops.
At Plymouth University, the Peninsula Arts Gallery will be transformed into a soil laboratory where science will meet the arts, as Dr Sarah Chapman, Director of Peninsula Arts, explains:
"Soil Culture is an exciting concept for Peninsula Arts, as an exhibition it challenges the traditional experience of a gallery, bringing the private sphere of the art studio and science laboratory into the public realm, and in doing so reveals the processes of making and idea generation. The exhibition will grow and change shape and I am excited to see what the artist in residence and students will produce in collaboration with soil scientists and architects from Plymouth University."
Lisa Hirmer, who founded and leads Dodolab, an evolving art and design based program, will be artist in residence at the Peninsula Arts Gallery from 27 April to 8 May. She will host a survey ‘Peak Peat’ to explore its importance in the local landscape and the wider ecosystem.
Artist Emma Saffy Wilson will present an alternative view of soil exploring the negative connotations often associated with dirt. Her sculptural objects have been described as making beautiful what is often seen as worthless. Emma will also present two workshops on 30 April - Hikaru Dorodango - where participants can learn the Japanese art of creating a shiny mud ball. These are free and open to the public, but booking is essential as places are limited.
The exhibition runs from 13 April until 30 May.