Once Upon a Time…


Artist Statement - Sarah Anderson


I am fortunate to spend a lot of time at the mouth of the Rakaia River in Mid-Canterbury, New Zealand. We have a small family bach at Rakaia Huts on the north bank of the river. The settlement is on the edge of an area of intensive horticulture, dairying, sheep, seed and crop farming - examples of which are all within easy walking distance of our hut. In this series of work I’ve created a 'before and after' scenario in which I contrast examples of once abundant local flora with snapshots of current land use in the area. I am also exploring the prevalence of noxious exotic weeds in the environs using the same format of landscape snapshot with an overlay of single plant form.

It is obvious when viewed that there is very little of the natural/indigenous world left on these various farms. A few cabbage trees if you’re lucky, a lot of willows and gorse (introduced species) in the flood plain paddocks. I hope that these drawings will add their small voice to the increasing awareness of the importance of biodiversity, soil health and the many ways in which native vegetation helps to protect our waterways, land, fauna and ultimately us.