Imagine the Land Project

Awe-inspiring installation art projects impassion the co-creation of works, blurring the line of viewer and artist, and create opportunities that move art back to a place of spiritual practice and away from the make/sell reality many artists are finding themselves bound within.


Imagine The Land Project works to re-establish a connection between people and the environment through art. Through an artistic practice that works within a context of locality and placement. The installation works are based on inspirations of mandala’s and medicine wheels from world cultures and constructed from a palate of natural materials. The project is coordinated by female artists Karma Barnes (New Zealand/Australia) and Ekarasa Doblanovic (New Zealand/ Croatia).


Each work is an in-depth production, with the local environment, history and culture researched. The installations are made from an earth palette of natural materials that are regionally gathered and are hand crushed and grinded into workable pigments. This attribute of the project works to foster a deeper environmental awareness within the natural world. Establishing a space for people to connect with the land in a cooperative art exploration and develop a deeper understanding of our interconnectedness with nature and each other.

“The installations explore the languages and memory of the land and its messages. Every landscape has unique songs, qualities and textural forms. By interacting directly with specific sites and presenting a new visual form, we bring to the participants and viewers a space to reflect and connect with the land and reflect upon the artistic powers of Nature.”


This conversation between art, culture and Nature evokes ancient ceremonies that lie within the collective subconscious of humanity. The Imagine the Land installations are impermanent. This ephemeral exploration of nature generates a space of mindfulness to the present moment and draws awareness to the subtle qualities of time and space. The art works are deconstructed either onsite or left to the natural elements to weather. A handful of the materials are carried over from one installation to the next, creating a larger unseen circle through the world.


The project was established in 2009 with its methodology being grounded during an international artist residency program in Villa de Leyva, Colombia (RESARTIS). Where the project worked developing several installations in the desert from the vibrant array of local pigments as well as an exhibition in the regions museum. Since then the projected has been exhibiting throughout New Zealand and Australia, including being chosen to present at the 2010 TINA festival in Newcastle, Australia. At the end of 2011 the project was backed by Auckland Unitec’s “Environmental fund” in a cross-Tasman installation project tour. Highlighting the tour was an exhibition at the Wellington Museum of City and Sea being “The Mandala of Life and Death”. The work explored Buddhist practices in relation to themes of “Death and Diversity” and collaborated with the Auckland Buddhist Amitabha Hospice. The work featured as part of a public program that featured the construction of the work being open to public viewing. 


Imagine the Land project have a creative practice that balances high quality contemporary arts with participatory arts programs. These programs have created opportunities for a diversity of people to participate in creative collaborative experiences. The projects participatory arts programs have delivered multiple benefits across a wide range of communities. “It is the sincere, creative and respectful use of diverse common soil materials that we have found has created a wider sense of appreciation, interest and gratitude for the local environments that these materials have come from. For example, the project Alluvium at the recent ANZATA conference in Brisbane engaged attendants in the making of an art installation consisting of soil and sedimentary materials gathered from locations along the Brisbane River. Participants had a positive and creative experience with the materials that only a year ago were a part of a significant flooding disaster. The project utilized community arts participation in a process of restoring relationships with the river”.


"Nelson Rhythms" was a group participatory work produced with over 100 participants from 3 to 70 years of age, recently in Nelson, New Zealand during the 2012 Evolve Festival. Participants delighted as the work grew, with some children returning over several days to contribute. The installation was kept by Founders Park as a funded project by Creative New Zealand.


The project is currently working between Australia and New Zealand and has some exciting upcoming projects. Including a collaboration in Byron Bay, Australia during NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) week that to celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This will involve a interactive public installation to be presented in a significant position of this iconic costal location.

In August the project will be presenting a 7-day public program at the Wallace Gallery of Morrinsville, New Zealand. The program will include 35hrs of artistic and educational workshops for regional schools and two days of public programs. The project is planning to construct their largest indoor installation to date at the gallery. The Wallace Gallery project will benefit over 500 children and participants in a rural area, generating a great opportunity for access to the contemporary arts. The project is seeking to raise funds for the Wallace Gallery project through New Zealand’s new and exciting crowd funding platform “Pledge me”. Readers can access a web site where you can become a supporter of the project by choosing to make a bid and in return, choose from a selection of limited edition prints of the completed installation.

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