Based on the findings of a Master of Creative Arts Degree (Green Man Resurrected: An Examination of the Underlying Meanings and Messages of the Re-Emergence of the Ancient Image of the Green Man in Contemporary, Western, Visual Culture) a workshop was presented at the annual Being Woman Festival, Ewen Maddock Dam Reserve, Sunshine Coast, March 2007. The Green Man is an artistic and iconic representation, part human, part plant. History is filled with Green Man images in architecture, stained glass, sculpture, painting, mythology, literature and folklore. It is a recurrent visual phenomenon in Western art practice, appearing and disappearing consistently across numerous time periods, cultures and geographic locations. Evidence shows these emergences are often linked to times of upheaval, change or environmental crisis. Currently, the image is reappearing in a wide range of artistic and cultural manifestations. It is widely recognized that the Green Man image is so much a part of the collective consciousness of Western civilization that the continual manifestation of the character can be viewed as a fundamental archetype. As an archetype the image has taken on various personas throughout history, such as; God of Regeneration, Hero, Trickster, Warrior, and most recently - Conservator. The workshop analysed visual elements of the iconic image as well as discussed underlying meanings and messages associated with its occurrences up to and including the current resurgence. This served as an entry into conversation about contemporary Green Man themed artwork and mankind’s current relationship with the natural world. Results of research data involving modern Green Man art makers were introduced as were scientific and business theories including Gaia Hypothesis, whole systems thinking, triple bottom line, five principles of ecologically sustainable development and the philosophy of the Deep Ecologists. Next the workshop took a hands-on approach as participants created their own Green Man images using mirrors, pencil, crayon, paint, glue and vegetation. The creative act and group interaction combined to produce deep and personal conversations between participants as they shared their own environment-related stories with the global picture in mind. From the mythical to instrumental level participants shared their emotions, and thus learned that they were not isolated in their feelings. The experience of the workshop resulted in deeper environmental awareness enabling personal and collective growth. The power of the Green Man image was explored and tested in terms of its ability to effect emotions, shape thoughts, and ultimately invoke action in societies.
2008 Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance (AUCEA) National Conference: Engaging for a Sustainable Future, Sunshine Coast, Australia 9-11 July 2008
Proceedings of the 2008 Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance National Conference / pp.192-202