Celia Kettle

Over the past seven years, my art has evolved with a profound focus on preserving the natural world. I use paint and water as a metaphor between overflowing seas and human emotions. I aim to inspire a sense of urgency and a deep connection between viewers and nature by evoking an appreciation and understanding of our shared identity.

I believe that art has the power to awaken collective consciousness and to drive action for environmental preservation.

Sky and leaves

Cyanotype on paper, stained with tea, and retouched with watercolour paint

20 x 30 cm

Some of these leaves were taken from the yard in front of my studio. When I first moved into this space there were no plants. So I put in some flowerbeds and now what was previously just cement and brick is a space full of green leaves, flowers and the wildlife that they attract. It is a constant reminder to me of the need for green areas amongst built up cities as places where people can de stress and cool off. It has been discovered that plants and especially trees in built up areas can help to lower the temperature by as much as 6 degrees.

As Richard Heinberg says in the Think Resilience Course by Post Carbon Institute, in lesson 21 on Resilience in Major Sectors (Manufacturing, Transport, and Buildings): “Neighborhoods can be rezoned to increase density and allow stores and other commercial uses to mix with housing along corridor streets—so-called “mixed-use” areas that were common before World War II and that characterize some of America’s most desirable places to live. Such neighborhoods are easy to walk and bicycle in, and when they make up an entire community they are easily serviced by public transit. It’s also necessary to provide targeted investments in walking, bicycling infrastructure, public transit, and public space.”
  • Celia Kettle

Plastic Wave I -VII

Acrylic paint on plastic
50 x 20 cm

In his lesson on ‘Meeting Essential Community Needs, ’ Richard Heinberg talks about the necessity for protecting regional water sources.

“Water is another human necessity, and the key to water resilience is the health of natural regional lakes, rivers, and streams. So, ensuring they are free from pollutants and that indigenous species thrive should be the principal resilience work in this area.”

Plastic Waves is part of the series ‘Ocean Within’, a collaborative art project with the artist Helena Blankenstein. Our project was primarily concerned with the contamination of the ocean from plastic waste; however, as well as collecting washed-up plastic bottles from the beach, I also found myself picking up discarded plastic, which I found lying around the city. A lot of this plastic had been packaged and wrapped around bottled drinks. Seeing discarded plastic bottles littering the streets made me wonder how many get washed into rivers and streams and eventually find their way to the ocean. I have a particular dislike for plastic bottled water not only because it is a petrol-based product that adds micro plastic contamination to our water supplies but also because selling people the need to drink water from underground reserves harms the environment by depleting aquifers and other groundwater sources, which are very much in need when there are water shortages or droughts.
  • Celia Kettle

Gold Leaf II

Papier maché from egg boxes and leaves with metallic paint on canvas.
20 x 20 cm

This artwork forms part of a series entitled ’The Cycle of Life’. I love gardening and watching the plants grow, and one day, while sweeping my patio, I noticed leaves that had blown out from the flower bed; they were in different stages of decomposition, but all of them had a captivating, fragile beauty. I had already been using recycled materials in my artworks, which reminded me of the natural recycling process, which constantly occurs in nature. Living in a big city, we don’t often see this process, as the leaves are quickly swept away to keep the streets clean. It’s so obvious and simple, yet we often aren’t aware of it. It made me think of how important it is to observe and experience nature.

The Think Resilience course talks about this understanding of nature as having an important role in education.

“Activities that build creativity, cooperation, self-reliance, and leadership aid personal resilience. And so does a practical understanding of basic systems—natural ecosystems, as well as human food, water, and energy systems.”

I couldn’t resist painting them gold and elevating them to the status of an art object to give them visibility and value within our consumer society.
  • Celia Kettle

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