Cave ART was part of the school outreach program for SIXTEEN LEGS. Initially, High School students from across Tasmania took part in an intensive Science-Art collaboration, involving on ground exploration of cave habitats with scientific experts, preview glimpses of SIXTEEN LEGS documentary material, and behind-the-scenes visits to the world-famous MONA Museum. Their challenge was to take their experiences and create artworks as part of the Exhibition, and their journeys can be seen here.
Incentive was high, with the opportunity to win a place on Bookend’s Antarctic Experience program, including a flight over Antarctica, as the prize. Bookend also offered an Australia-wide opportunity for students to submit their own works into Cave ART Open, with the chance to win another seat on the Antarctic flight.
Here are the 25 student artworks that formed part of the original SIXTEEN LEGS Enter the Cave Exhibition, with the students' descriptions of their works in their own words:
STALAC-LIGHTS - Bernadette Willey, Launceston Church Grammar
[Interactive walk-in installation]
This art work was made to express that when in a cave the only light available is the warm light of torches that illuminate the formations of the cave.
UNTITLED - Blossom Kollo-Hay, Ogilvie High School
Entering the cave, you were enveloped in a dampness of beautiful textures, light and colours but there was a feeling of solidarity. I wanted to transfer this feeling by creating an interpretation of the cave. I was inspired by the wide range of surfaces that the cave had formed simply by the action of water on rock. My art work is made from plaster, sand, shellac and glue and imprinted by a wide range of objects to duplicate the stalagmites. I want my artwork to take you into the sculpted world of a cave. Imagine each piece of plaster is like a chunk taken from the cave wall.
LIVING CAVE IN A BOTTLE - Cedrick Smith, Tasman District High School
Caves really are a world within our world. They are such a small proportion of the earth and yet the earth itself is but a tiny speck compared to the rest of the universe. By placing the model of my cave inside the bottle I have attempted to display this scale. I wanted to capture the physical beauty of caves that I see when people look through the little bottle neck. But not only that, I wanted people to look at caves as living things (as they are ever-changing). To display the aliveness of caves I have brought life to my cave by adding mosses, ferns, and water which create an independent climate. My cave is alive, it has its own evaporation cycle and it will even create its own eerie fog when it gets hot enough! My inspiration greatly came from the physical beauty of the natural environment and its complexity.
UNTITLED - Chloe Weatherhead, Kingston High School
This picture illustrates some of the feelings and emotions felt while we visited the caves, along with some facts that I learned. The cave in the picture is actually one large clock with no hands. This represents the time-stopping feeling that many people experienced. The spooky bony creature lurking in the shadows and the faces in the rock represent the eeriness of the cave and how humans disturb the quiet cave life. Also the moths and caterpillars surrounded by leaves represent how life goes on outside but inside a cave everything seems to stop.
IF I WERE A CAVE SPIDER - Claudia Harris, Ogilvie High School
[Dreamcatcher, decorated with natural materials]
If I were a cave spider I wouldn’t like being alone. Things may not stray into a web in a cave for days, weeks, perhaps even months! Sometimes a cricket might wander below the web amongst the stalagmites and the sound of water dripping from a stalactite might be heard. But all in all, I’d get very lonely if I were a cave spider.
So to keep myself from getting too lonely I would decorate my web with beautiful things: things that told me stories of the world outside.
ART IN THE DARK - Crystal Coleman, Ulverstone High School
I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of “almost human” and “not quite human”, something about the slight wrongness when you mess with the features on a face or change the proportions on a body, it interests me. My piece is based around the biology of human evolution and the ecology of caves. My aim with the work was to simulate the adaptation of humans to a cave environment. Thus, I created a “not quite human” in the context of a cave. I tried to make the sculpture as scientifically accurate as possible by taking features of other cave creatures, for example, the long limbs of the cave spiders and the blindness of the cave shrimp. I looked at bone structure and skin texture, and also how they would feed and mate. During the creation of this work I felt pressured but after a while I managed to produce a satisfying piece. I’m glad with how this turned out, and how this came together.
UNTITLED - Dawn Weller, Calvin Christian School
I created my piece of art from a photo that was taken when we visited the Bradley Chesterman Cave. I drew a picture that displays the cave’s many shapes and forms, also the different tones and textures. I used watercolour pencils to create my artwork.
THE TREE IN THE DARKNESS - Hamish Cannon, Calvin Christian School
Like a tree on the surface, this piece of fungi had taken my breath away. Even the smallest of things show the most creative spark. This fungus was growing on a drop of faeces; a contrast of beauty and ugliness. So much wonder that is hidden under the darkness of the cave. Each shaft of light from my torch reveals another mystery. It’s like the exploration through life, who knows what we will find around the next corner.
UNTITLED - Jacinta Kringle, St Marys District School
My piece of artwork is based on patterns, rhythms and shapes inside the cave. The greenery is the open parts where you see the outside as you walk through the cave. The hand is created to illustrate humans discovering thousands of years ago the beauty of the cave and the stalactites create the rhythm of age.
THE TRAVELLER'S WEB - Jeremy Willson, The Hutchins School
The idea for this art piece was formed by the talks we had about the Tasmanian Cave Spider which were given by specialists in this area. The image this art is trying to portray is that a spider web is so important to a spider for survival, yet they look so beautiful. This also relates to the world as we know it and we can travel anywhere and everywhere. Be it by road, by sea or by air, all the routes are intertwined and they have created almost a net that circles the globe. This is as important to us as it is to a spider as it provides transportation of food, products such as cars and phones, and raw materials such as oil and coal. These are not only crucial to a single person’s survival but the country as a whole, and the sale of these goods power the world economies.
UNTITLED - Joey Nykiel, St Marys District School
My artwork doesn’t really have any meaning it’s just meant to be something pleasurable to look at, that’s the way I would much rather look at art and things in nature. You could say I’m not a very contemporary person but then again that’s the reason I chose to do my piece on Hickmania troglodytes (Tasmanian Cave Spider). It has been around for hundreds and thousands of years, and hasn’t majorly evolved since, but still somehow able to compete with the evolving modern day fauna found deep inside the caves.
VOCAVI MUSICA - Julia Parker, Smithton High School
[Listen to Julia's composition in the film clip above]
For my artistic representation of the cave theme I chose to compose a musical piece using my knowledge of music and musical instruments. The instruments I used were piano and violin. I tried to depict the moods and emotions that I felt in the cave. As it was one of my first experiences of being in a cave I wanted to be able to convert my emotions and feelings of the cave into my music. I also wanted to show how I viewed the cave and its geomorphology. Water is a major theme in my composition. I wanted to depict how over time the caves are formed by water and erosion, during which beautiful passages and tunnels are formed. During my cave experience at the Honeycomb Cave I was amazed at the rock formations and how everything was smooth and curved. I wanted to represent the shapes and curves of the rocks and crystal formations in the music. This has included music which depicts the beauty of the stalactite and stalagmite formations in Honeycomb Cave.
UNTITLED - Kyle Fitzpatrick, Tasman District High School
[3D Paper Tole]
Most people are scared of caves
They think they are
Damp and dark
Cold and creepy
I want to change their minds
To see the beauty
To feel the excitement
And enter the unknown
To learn something new
So I welcome you all
To see the CAVE...
Through my eyes.
UNDERGROUND WORLD - Lachy Gregory, Calvin Christian School
As I left the never ending dusty road
I stumbled into a trackless moisture-laden forest.
There were trees the size of skyscrapers
And creatures as small as a grain of sand.
I thought I was already in paradise... I was wrong.
As we trekked further and further into the viridescent landscape
We came across a dark, gloomy den.
It looked so out of place in the vast green wasteland.
But yet it looked like it belonged.
We began to stagger down into the moonless pit
Little did I know that what I was about to unlock a whole new world.
I illuminated my head-torch
And before me was the most beautiful mess I had ever seen.
A tranquil stream of water trickled throughout the cave.
Acicular jewels hang from the ceiling.
I still had not been introduced to the true owner of this mysterious world.
My head torch came to a sudden halt
I fixed my glance upon the most formidable
But yet the most delicate creature I had ever seen.
Her legs stretched as far as the eye could see.
I stood back and observed this beautiful eight legged creature
And straight away I could tell she was the true Queen of this dark encased heaven.
DEPTH - Lara Briddon, Launceston Church Grammar
Falling into the deception of the light within a cave, it is so easy to miss the finer detail of what is present within the darkness. The darkness is beautiful too once you learn to see the light within it. Tracing the lines that the light plays with inside the caves was the inspiration for the wood and the awestruck feeling of overwhelming light that comes from looking through a cave inspired the white tones that make up everything outside the dark wonderland.
UNTITLED - Lewis Freeman, The Hutchins School
Through my cartoon style I have made a representation of the rhyme “Stalagmites are mighty and strong and stalactites hold on tight so they don’t fall down.” To build it I used magic clay as the base and sculpted in details of bumps. I then dry brushed it and finished it with varnish to make it shiny and give the illusion of it being wet like a stalagmite or ‘tite should be.
OBLIVION - Marlee Wells, Tasman District High School
This piece was inspired by my trip to Bradley Chesterman Cave but it was also inspired by one of my favourite childhood books, Alice In Wonderland. I believe that these two things are closely related in my artwork and when I was constructing “Oblivion” I wanted to portray the confusion and fear of Alice while falling down the “rabbit hole” but I also wanted to include some things that I saw whilst on my journey into the cave. This added my experiences in the cave into the art but still including Alice’s story with it. I chose the name “Oblivion” for my work because that was truly what I felt while journeying into the cave and I also believe that’s what Alice feels too.
UNTITLED - Melissa Albion, Calvin Christian School
For this piece I used water colour paint on water colour paper. This adds texture to the stalactites and stalagmites. I used this type of paint because it allowed me to use droplets of water for effects. I used a picture of our daytrip to Bradley Chesterman Cave for the people and a picture of the cave structures and my imagination to create the stalactites and stalagmites. To me this painting shows how dark a cave can be, from the lack of faces, and how easily you can get lost in a cave.
BEAUTY IN DARKNESS - Olivia Howe, Taroona High School
[Spider silk, sprayed with paint and fixed on paper with hairspray.]
All 40,000 species of spiders make silk, which appears to be a work of art itself. Spider silk is a material generated within special glands which produce silk proteins, made up of chains of amino acids. Some varieties are five times as strong as an equal mass of steel!
IN LIGHT THERE IS AND IN DARK THERE IS LIGHT - Poorniima Shanmugam, Ogilvie High School
The cave provoked emotions within me which I hadn’t experienced since a child. It created an illusion of space and direction that affected my perspective significantly, and made the surroundings feel like it was sucking me into the dark. To overcome this I began to observe through a different manner, see through a new light. In doing so I was able to experience the full glory of the cave, and I attempted to transfer that childish interest into my painting. The choice of finger painting and colours reflect on the emotions I felt in the cave; the cold, dormant, peaceful environment. The pitch black hole in the centre of the canvas was an attempt to draw the viewer in, with small glimpses of warmth and light around it.
INTO THE UNKNOWN - Sabrina Choe, Clarence High School
This piece of art was created to represent the surroundings and atmosphere of the magnificent caves. A person explores this cave with only a head light and torchlight while walking further into the unknown. Since caves are mostly filled with cold silence and darkness, the purpose of the black paper was to create a pitch-black effect much like the inside of a real cave, and then showing what a dark and mysterious cave can turn into when Illuminated by just a small source of light. The formation of a cave is also a big part of this drawing, displaying the countless stalactites and texture of the walls of the cave.
MY SECRET WORLD - Sarah Heald, Smithton High School
When I started to plan this piece I wanted to show what everyone missed when we were down in the cave (which is the face of a man in the big rock), but when I started I thought wow, there’s more to drawing a cave than I first thought! I decided to try all sorts of mediums to help me decide which worked best, for example... watercolour, ink, pastels, pencils, paint. But by far the best one was the graphite pencil, mainly because I could capture more details than I thought were there in the first place. Like the darkness and shadows beaming on and off the walls of the cave, and also the contours and roughness of the rocks and walls. So in the end the drawing you see now is my finished product and I’m proud to say that I created it. Enjoy.
THE HOWLING MUTE - Sophie Ambler, Clarence High School
'Cause at night the sun in retreat,
Made the skyline look
Like crooked teeth,
In the mouth of a man
Who was devouring, us both.
Relish the culminating silence.
Running Time: [01:45.89]
Music by Rob Simonsen and used with permission.
UNTITLED - Teagen Smith, St Marys District School
My artwork is based more around the Tasmanian Cave Spider (Hickmania troglodytes) than the cave itself. I found the spiders in the cave to be quite fascinating because of their slow evolution and how they differ to spiders on the surface. They differ in the way they do things like how they mate and how they build their webs. Time in caves goes slower, so to speak, evolution hasn’t happened as quickly in caves as it has on the surface. It takes time for things to happen in caves. Take the spiders' mating ritual for example, it could take up to a week, maybe more for the female to even accept the male before they actually start the mating process. The spiders in my artwork are female because the female cave spiders are the dominant sex; the female would and could kill the male. It’s the same with some breeds of surface spiders, the female will kill the male.
INTO THE DARKNESS - Tom Parnham, Calvin Christian School
A song written for the Cave Art 2014 competition. Recorded at Calvin Christian School. Guitars by Tom Parnham, drum loop by Jono Lucas.
THE STORYTELLERS - Artworks and Descriptions (coming soon!)CAVE SEARCH TEACHING RESOURCES
EXPEDITION CLASS - check out the new look page and new projects for 2015!