Indigenous Art

WetlandCare Australia National Art and Photography Competition

To celebrate World Wetlands Day 2012 on February 2, WetlandCare Australia is hosting their 5th annual Australia wide art and photography competition. There are categories for young people and adults, and for the first time the competition includes categories specifically for Indigenous artists.

The categories in the competition have been designed to give as many people as possible the opportunity to submit entries. The categories are:

WetlandCare Australia Awards

WetlandCare Australia Senior Management will select 3 of the winning works selected by the judges in Art, Indigenous Art or Photography that best promote the organisations objectives for the next 12 months. These works will be awarded a WetlandCare Australia Award, and will be used in promotional materials and events. See the Rules of the Competition for full details.

Prizes on offer:

  • 3 Nights accommodation for 2 adults in Ramada Breakas Vanuatu Garden Fare with Continental breakfast daily included: valued at AUD$720. Valid February 2012 – February 2013. Some block out dates may apply.
  • 2 night stay for a family of 4 in a 2 Bedroom Riverview Suite at Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina, valued at $630. Valid 02 February 2012 – 02 August 2012. Some block out dates apply.
  • 2 night stay for a couple in a Hotel Spa Room at Ramada Hotel and Suites Ballina, valued at $330. Valid 02 February 2012 – 02 August 2012. Some block out dates apply.

All artworks and photographs must be the original work of the entrant, and provided on paper, unframed and up to A3 in size.

All categories of the competition are acquisitive; reproductions of the winning entries of the WetlandCare Australia National Art and Photography Competition may be used by WetlandCare Australia to promote wetlands, and the work of WetlandCare Australia.

Competition theme

Wetlands, Tourism and Recreation

For more information about the wise use of wetlands for recreation and other pursuits, you can download the WetlandCare Australia Fact Sheet:

Wise Use of Wetlands

You can also draw inspiration from our facebook page and see some of the amazing wetlands that we are working hard to promote and protect:

The winning works from the 2011 competition can be viewed in the online gallery and there is also a selection you can view on Flickr

Click here to see the gallery

Click here to see Flickr

The Ramsar Convention website also has information on using wetlands for Tourism and Recreation. See

Competition coordinator Liz Hajenko says of the theme: “It can cover so many of the different ways we all engage with wetlands and waterways: everything from fishing, sharing time in nature with family and friends, bird watching, through to the benefits and challenges of tourism.”

Click here to read the press release on the launch of the Indigenous prizes

Enter now!

Further information and conditions of entry (including the Rules of the Competition) for the WetlandCare Australia National Art and Photography Competition 2012 is located with the entry forms for the respective categories.
Please print out and fill in the entry forms and post them with your artwork and photographs.  If you are under 18, don’t forget to get an adult to sign your application.

Click here to download a print-friendly version of the ART entry form

Click here to download a print-friendly version of the INDIGENOUS ART entry form

Click here to download a print-friendly version of the PHOTOGRAPHY entry form
The competition closes on December 2 2011.  Winners will be notified on December 22 2011 and awarded their prizes on February 1 2012 at an official awards ceremony at the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra.

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day falls on February 2 each year. It is an international event declared by the United Nations to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention to protect and preserve wetlands around the world. World Wetlands Day is an excellent opportunity to undertake activities focused on raising awareness of the values and environmental benefits of wetlands, both locally and globally. The theme for World Wetlands Day 2011 is Wetlands, Tourism and Recreation

If you are interested in gaining more information on World Wetlands Day and the Ramsar Convention, see

 Wetlands are essential, not only as an intrinsic component of balanced ecosystems and sustainable catchments, but also because they provide services to human society and biodiversity generally. The solutions our planets’ needs require creativity and new ideas – a great opportunity to link art and the environment!

Artwork on website front page: Leticia Shiu Nature in the Wetlands Merit Award, Murrary Darling Basin Authority Children’s Art Junior 2011

SOS Gulf to Gulf is a virtual model for the role of art in creating resilience

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2009

Contact: Aviva Rahmani 646 403 7130

Asger Jorn Room, Bella Center, Copenhagen

Art can help build the capacity and facilitate adaptation needed at COP15;

SOS Gulf to Gulf is a virtual model for the role of art in creating resilience

Protestors world wide see COP15 as a conflict between money and legalisms. This press conference asserts that is why art needs to be at the table, “ [supporting] [assisting] [enabling] all developing country Parties, particularly the most vulnerable, in undertaking adaptation measures.” Art is how people express their experiences. Millions of artists have another approach to environmental issues.

Artists can help COP15 communicate between parties

  • The media can convey how art can enable adaptation and implement climate justice
  • Contemporary and indigenous art practices provide relatively low-cost, uncontentious models for adaptation and mitigation that can contribute to long term cooperation and capacity building. Art is a vehicle to express what words and numbers can’t.
  • When we take “aspirational goals” seriously for the Least Developed Countries (LDC), we see that the arts in each culture and between cultures are a means to express aspiration, sustain it’s people, bridge communication gaps and be a container for important historical information, including indigenous environmental knowledge. Art is the glue holding societies and cultures together, under stress, means to intimately connect people.
  • In the 21rst century, art can create ways for technology transfer and development to translate and protect bodies of cultural knowledge, because artists are innovative.
  • Ecological art is a recognized practice that embraces an ecological ethic in both its content and form/materials, embracing collaborative opportunities.

SOS Gulf to Gulf is an example of how an ecological art practice can help

  • SOS Gulf to Gulf developed in virtual collaboration to reduce carbon emissions
  • Artist Aviva Rahmani and scientist Dr. Jim White, director of the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado at Boulder, initiated a cross-disciplinary virtual collaboration, addressing the international global warming crisis in gulf regions.
  • The story reveals parallels between Bangladesh, the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Aden and the Persian Gulf connecting water, war, pirates, fisheries, education and migrations.
  • SOS Gulf to Gulf was inspired by the Trigger Point Theory of environmental restoration developed by Rahmani
  • Presentation Credits: dialog is between artists Aviva Rahmani and Peter Buotte, curator Tricia Watts, Ecoartspace, Marda Kirn, director EcoArts Connection, Dr. Jim White, INSTAAR, Dr. Ed Maibach, George Mason University, Dr. Eugene Turner, Louisiana State University, Dr. Michele Dionne, director of Research at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells Maine and Tuku Ahmed, a New York City taxi cab driver and immigrant from Bangladesh.

If COP15 and the UNFCCC desire just allocation of resources to deal with climate change. Why then, has art, which has so much to contribute to that goal, been absent from all discussions of adaptability?


Report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention on its seventh session, held in Bangkok from 28 September to 9 October 2009, and Barcelona from 2 to 6 November 2009; chosen because it bears equally on human needs for ethics and culture.

  • Key words and phrases:

build capacity and facilitate adaptation, Ecological art, adaptation and mitigation, aspirational goals, technology transfer and development, Resilience, Vulnerability, “[the level of adaptation][adaptation needs]”, “[framework] [programme]”

  • Key document text that illlustrates why art can become a partner:
  • pg 54: “Adaptation is a challenge shared by all countries; …. in order to reduce vulnerability, minimize loss and damage and build the resilience of ecological and social systems and economic sectors to present and future adverse effects of climate change [and the impact of the implementation of response measures]. (reference content of non-paper no.41 (5 November 2009)”
  • pp 61: “identifying sources of adaptation;

(b) Strengthening, consolidating and enhancing the sharing of information, knowledge, experience and good practices, at local, national, regional and international levels, consistent with relevant international agreements, through creating forums where different public and private stakeholders can discuss concrete challenges;”

  • Additional considerations
  1. Gender issues relate to questions of art and culture. Disproportionately, artisans in indigenous cultures are often women. Their practices often preserve the, “[land use, land-use change and forestry sector]”; (and represent how to) p. 92 “respect the knowledge and rights of indigenous peoples[, including their free, prior and informed consent,]  Deforestation is often a consequence of the cultural disruption that displaces gender roles.
  2. Art and humanities foster creativity through out all sectors of society. In transition periods, creative problem-solving is as essential to survival as financial or regulatory support.
  3. The costs of sustaining cultural communities in relation to other ecological costs is not only minimal but has historically transferred wealth, in a variety of forms back into an economy. This will help cultures in transition maintain identity and independence, a response to the need to, “develop low-emission [high growth sustainable] development strategies.”

Films by Aviva Rahmani with discussion afterwards will be viewed at 5: PM December 16: Farumgade 4-6, 2200 Kbh N (Nørrebro) (via shareaholic)