Artist: Jennifer Katarina Rendall
Medium: Fabric paint/acrylic on unstretched fabric
MFA painting SFA, University of Canterbury 2010
Consideration to the wellbeing of our indigenous plants and the natural environment, and more recently, researching the naturalisation of New Zealand's indigenous plants in other countries, as well as looking into naturalisation of European and other nation's plants here in New Zealand, have been factors that have informed what I paint.
An important part of my practice and inspiration involves simply being outdoors and observing -
Walking or tramping trips are good for seeing native plants. Time spent in the natural world has greatly influenced and increased my respect for the land and forest ecosystems.
For this painting, ‘Te Nehenehe Kahurangi ‘ The Blue forest’, I wanted to represent a range of our plants and trees and bush that are endangered, threatened or declining species, and also to show their beauty.
The found furnishing fabric with leaves was a suitable background for my painting of these New Zealand taonga species, consisting of two rakau rangatira above, including the Matai at top left, the two bushline endangered plants below, and at center, two of many endangered native Myosotis ( native NZ forget-me-nots) growing from the Southern Alps to the West coast. At top right is the kauri threatened by kauri die-back – and at the bottom the kowhai ngutu kaka, and the poroporo.
The podocarp Matai while not endangered is said to be in decline. On the coast there is one Matai tree said to be 1000 years old near Lake Ianthe ( Lake Matahi )
The Impact of Covid-19 - Hit the world like a comet. Boom! Everything changed ! I feel more worried and concerned for friends and whānau and those in general who are living in badly affected countries like the U.S., parts of Australia, Europe, India, Mexico, South America - just about everywhere else really. The way our country has handled this crisis to date for the most part, is the envy of many in the world, and I think generally New Zealanders are very grateful. I feel especially concerned for people here who are have lost their jobs, especially those with young families, or lost loved ones. Child poverty is a real concern. Artists I think, are generally very resourceful, and used to getting by on minimal resources, but I am very grateful that artists have been included in the economic recovery via assistance from CNZ. We have been through this before, during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which was to date, far more devastating. In my own family, my Ngāi Tahu great-grandmother lost four adult children to the 1918 pandemic, and one, sadly, didn't make it home from the war and was buried in France. I found it very sad, visiting his grave in 2018, 100 years after the first world war. I was on my way to an art residency near Barcelona, where I made work at the residency in response to my research of the impact of that pandemic, starting with my whānau. One way that I was impacted as an artist as a result of the Covid-19 is that I applied for, and was offered a place and a grant, (before Covid hit anywhere in the world ), to return to that art residency, to complete a second project which included researching indigenous plants from New Zealand naturalised in the 'antipodes'. In Spain, there are many, most famous of all, are the thriving pōhutukawa in the city of A Coruña . There are studies on how climate change can increase the risk of pandemics. Deforestation is the largest cause of habitat loss worldwide, and loss of habitat in turn forces animals to migrate and potentially spread germs to other animals and people. On a more positive note, it was good to experience during our lockdown, the presence of more bird life here. it seemed they were relieved by the absence of noisy cars on the road, which in turn, were also, in their absence, producing less carbon emissions. This was inspiring. I think my work has become more optimistic since.