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Deep Roots II- DAYS AND NIGHTS ON THE FARM
Multi-media Art Installation by Meei-Ling Ng, Oct 6 - 7, 2012
Deep Roots is an ongoing series of art installations that I have been exhibiting at various locations, ranging from a suburban backyard garden to an urban farm. The latest and upcoming event, Deep Roots ll "Days and Nights on the Farm" will be held on Oct. 6-7, 2012 at Mort Brooks Memorial Farm (Awbury Arboretum) in Germantown, Philadelphia, PA. This installation will be concentrating on story telling and the subject is growing food where people live.
Years ago, I started volunteering at the Mort Brooks farm as I was interested in helping urban farming and wanted to know where, how and by whom my food was grown. The hardworking urban farmers there, using a special ingenuity to maintain organic standards, are one of my inspirations. I know how hard they have to work to put food on our table, as I'm a former farmer, myself.
My story telling with art highlights the interconnection of nature, farms, our food system and our communities. Using different art installations to represent different concerns that we have to overcome or to even recognize. In some installation pieces the messages will be quite defined others rely on sentiment and inspiration. Issue: Bee colonies are mysteriously vanishing. My beekeeper sculpture, placed adjacent to the farm's beehives, will have a video screen built into its headgear running a trailer from the documentary film, "Vanishing of the Bees." The sculpture also includes messages on how the community can care for bee populations. Message-Farming is hard work! Another sculpture depicts what could be called a weary farmer after a long day taking a much needed rest. Show some appreciation for the farmer in your life-please. Sparking an interest in young people for healthy food and urban farming is key to sustainability. My decorative "chicken tractor", a movable enclosure, will give children a view of how to raise happy chickens that help the farmer control weeds and bug pests. This functional sculpture, which like most of my sculptures for this installation, uses recycled objects and materials from the farm. I'll be donating the chicken tractor to the farm's Childrens' Garden after the event.
Collaboration could be the sub-theme for this installation. I've teamed up with some community institutions, Weavers Way and Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST). But most rewarding are the relationships with and things I've learned from individuals lending a hand. Working with lighting designer, Jackson Kay has literally and figuratively turned on many lights for me. Jackson took the time to teach me the basics of light design then went beyond by using lights to seemingly animate farm crops for the event. Photographer Sang Cun's beautiful pictures of the process of the installation and individual pieces gave me a new perspective on the value of good shots. As I mentioned prior, farmers inspire me. Talented farmers Rick Rigutto and Nina Berryman not only inspired but also contributed many practical ideas for this project-my thanks and gratitude goes out to them.
My collaboration with the Weavers Way Farm/Co-op is a good fit. Weavers Way Co-op is leading by example on how to build a sustainable regional economy-a cooperative economy. Also, by collaborating with the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST) we hope to bring in a different community beyond foodies. Here's hoping that some of the art lovers who visit the farm will come back and help pull weeds.
This event is being put on in collaboration with Weavers Way Co-op and in conjunction with the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours(POST) and lighting designer Jackson Kay.
Please see the documenting process of "DAYS AND NIGHTS ON THE FARM " Art Installation here.
Special thanks to my photographer friend, Sang Cun who took all these beautiful photographs.
Nature is invisible to everyday life, if you fail to take time to notice it.
Videographer, Michelle Saul-Yamasaki did some beautiful work documenting "Deep Roots II - DAYS AND NIGHTS ON THE FARM" art installation. It was a great collaboration work with Michelle. Thank you, Michelle!