SOMETIMES it takes a negative situation to spark initiative.
A proposed development set to destroy a magnificent natural environment provoked activism in art with The Weyba Project, that has now reached a global audience.
Australian artist, Bianca Tainsh’s Weyba Project exhibition Lessons in Valuespart of the recent Spinnerei Rundgang Gallery Tour in Leipzig, Germany, was enthusiastically received by the environmentally-savvy German public.
Fuelled by Bianca’s creative energy, The Weyba Project is art activism helping to save ecologically precious Lake Weyba.
Bianca was able to draw parallels between the issues facing the Leipzig community and those facing the Noosa and Lake Weyba communities.
Bianca said, “These parallels struck a chord with the German people, as they were able to relate on a personal, local level to issues facing another community on the other side of the globe.”
Until now all The Weyba Project exhibitions have been held on the shores of the lake, but it has now found a new context by its introduction to Germany.
Bianca, a socially engaged artist, is interested in identifying local issues that resonate with, and compliment facets of The Weyba Project, particularly the predicament of economy versus environment as an unfortunate side effect of the GFC.
On the Sunshine Coast, local tradespeople have been relocating to the mines due to a decline in employment opportunities. There has also been a downturn in business with many forced to close their doors. This has created a precarious situation where the economy gains importance over protecting natural resources.
Leipzig is also experiencing similar shifts in priorities.
As its population struggles with decreasing household budgets due to like employment issues, the cost of wind generated power proving prohibitive, and coal, the residue of which kept the city black and poisoned up until recently, now being reconsidered as a cheaper alternative.
Apart from the environmental repercussions, a return to coal power would also undermine one of Leipzig’s most positive social projects. Since the sixties, Leipzig has converted its open-cast coal mines into lakes as a recreational resource for the city’s inhabitants.
Bianca said, “It was Leipzig’s love for its lakes that made me feel that I had brought The Weyba Project to the right place.
“I also detected the undertone of a society that is familiar with notions of loss. Germany has seen tumultuous times, and new generations carry the weight of decisions made before they were even born.
“I have lived on and returned to Lake Weyba for most of my life. It doesn’t feel as if the local community owns Weyba, but that we belong to it. For me the thought of losing Weyba conjures fears of dislocation and loss of identity, emotional conditions that I feel many Germans can empathise with.”
Parallels between communities at opposite ends of the world opened a gateway to mutual understanding with shared empathy and compassion uniting the communities.
Bianca said that Lessons in Values generated a great deal of interest in the plight of Weyba which is evidenced by all the new Protest Subscribers and friends on the Friends of Lake Weyba Facebook page, who are fighting to preserve the environmental and social values of this priceless natural Noosa asset.
Bianca now returns to Melbourne and is looking forward to an upcoming exhibition, where she will continue to increase the global reach of The Weyba Project.
Images – contributed by B Tainsh.