I’ve always thought of New Zealand to be a beautiful clean country, where you can swim in rivers and not be worried about whats lurking beneath. However I’ve come to realise that we aren’t as clean and pure as what we’ve been advertised to be.

New Zealand relies on both the meat and dairy industry, it’s a huge part of our economy but at the same time the agricultural practices we use are having a negative effect on our waterways. This is a problem that wasn’t really heard of and is something that we don’t think about when you’re drinking that glass of milk or having a nice steak for dinner. According to the source H2whoa, 62% of our waterways are unsafe to swim in due to pollution, while 90% of monitored lowland pastoral and urban rivers are unsafe for recreation. These figures are alarming and definitely need to be addressed.

Visual activism can occur in many different ways whether it’s fast or slow movement. There are a number of artists who take their work to the streets such as Tess Sheerin who uses street art to convey her messages. I feel as though this approach is one of the best, they’re not giving people a choose to look at it or not, when art is right in your face you can’t help but take notice of what it is and what’s going on. This goes hand in hand with pieces of art that circle around social media. It’s the easiest way for people to share art or something they feel strongly about for other people to see.

Videos are also an effective way to address certain issues, I always find that when watching something you usually get a bit more information on the topic or it could be the other way round where you really need to think about whats going on and the messages someone is trying to convey. Videos or short films can also be easily shared and view online as well as tv ads that are usually short and to the point.

For my final piece I have decided to do a small photo series, mainly because I’m a photography major and enjoy using this medium when creating work. The series is titled ‘Clean or green’. This is based of our thoughts of New Zealand being this beautiful clean and green country

I have decided to keep my photographs rather simple, using a number of glass jars to show our clean freshwater becoming progressively dirtier as the number of agricultural practices increases. The runoff from cows causes an excess amount of nutrients in our water, resulting in algae. This is why I have used green food colouring to represent the ‘pollution’.

Using water and glass jars enabled me to experiment with different types of distortion, which I feel added a new dimension to my work and could even represent the different views on this particular issue.


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