Emerging Green Man by Janice Blaine, Canada

The Green Man

One of the intriguing arworks created for the LandfillArt Collection is the work by Janice Blaine, of Calgary, Canada, of the Emerging Green Man.

 

When I was asked to participate in this project, I saw it as a unique opportunity to explore a new medium, acrylic on metal. I work primarily in watercolour, so I loved the challenge. As an environmentalist, I also loved the idea of turning ‘trash’ into works of art. I’m thrilled to be a part of a green movement that is beautiful, educational, and productive! The theme of the project also gave me another chance to paint one of my favorite subjects…The Green Man

Throughout her career, Janice has worked on a wide variety of projects that have ranged from pre-production animation to design and illustration of children’s books. She is co-editor and illustrator of the Urban Green Man anthology, and her illustrations have appeared on the covers of numerous books and magazines. She currently works as the Production Manager of EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.

Source of the Image of the Green Man

As Janice Blaine mentioned in her statement, the subject of the Green Man is her favorite !  But what is the source for the use of the Green Man?  This is difficult to trace because while it seems to be a concept that has existed since antiquity, it’s impossible to pin down a specific source or culture.

In general, a Green Man is any kind of a carving, drawing, painting or representation which shows a head or face surrounded by, or made from, leaves. The face is almost always male, although a few Green Women do exist.

But, in that general description, there are a surprising number of  variations, and there do not appear to be standard representations of a Green Man, and there are even examples of two-headed and even three-headed, Green Men.

Most Green Men can be seen in stone and wood carvings in Christian churches – a vast majority in Britain, France and Germany – and main date from the medieval period from the 11th to 16th Century.

These can range from very simple and basic carvings in a folk art tradition, to sophisticated and expressive sculptures in the best church ornamentation. Some of the faces have welcoming and reassuring expressions; others are ferocious, at times even threatening. And some appear barely human – looking more like demons or beasts.

You can see this huge variety if you do a search on Google and look at the images that come up.

Common Interpretation

The most common interpretation for the Green Man is that of a pagan nature spirit, a symbol of man’s reliance on and union with nature, a symbol of the underlying life-force, and of the renewed cycle of growth each spring. With this view it is probable that the tradition came from older nature deities such as the Celtic Cernunnos and the Greek Pan and Dionysus.

However, the first use of the term “Green Man” only dates back to 1939, when it was used by Lady Raglan (wife of the scholar and soldier Major Fitzroy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan) in her article “The Green Man in Church Architecture”, published in the Folklore journal of March 1939. This article established the Green Man as a legitimate subject for historical and anthropological study, and established the term “Green Man” as the preferred label.

A common link in nearly all of the legends and myths which have been suggested is that of metamorphosis and transformation.  That fits in perfectly with Blaine’s use of the Green Man as a subject for her recycled and transformed art work!

The Green Man expert Kathleen Basford has stated:   “It can be difficult to distinguish between what is a purely decorative association and what may be a significant association of ideas.”  So as at its heart, the Green Man remains, and will always remain, a mystery.

published_urbangreenmanOne especially intriguing theory for the meaning of the Green Man is that the image appears in cycles related to times of crisis or significant change.  That certainly fits our world today and the subject’s modern popularity may have been triggered by our current environmental crisis.

The Green Man can be seen as an archetype of the “conservator”, whose mission is to counsel us to take from the environment only what we need to survive and to conserve the rest, and to remind us of our responsibilities for caring for the natural world.

In recent years, the environmental and Green movement and various other campaigns and commercial organizations have been using the image of the Green Man as a marketing tool, and he has become a symbol for the environment.

A fascinating website that further discusses the possible sources and interpretations, can be found at:   http://www.greenmanenigma.com/theories.html

Janice Blaine’s illustrations for the book The Urban Green Man, can be seen on her website at:
http://www.paintersblock.com/urban-green-man_illustration.html

 

 

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ChinChewFang-500

Two Artists from Malaysia

The artists that have contributed to the Landfillart Collection come from every one of the 50 states in the US and  52 countries. For this article we selected two artists from Malaysia, and give a little information on the environmental challenges in that beautiful country.

Malaysia ranks as the 21st most bio-diverse country in the world, with 2,199 endemic species. 18% of these species are listed as ‘threatened’, and because they are endemic, if Malaysia fails to conserve them, extinction will result.

 

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Green, by Ching Teoh

 

“I painted the hubcap green with a flowery pattern to signify rebirth… today it celebrates its new life as a decoration piece on the wall!”
Ching Teoh

Ching, born in Penang in 1971, is a self-taught painter with a master’s degree in applied science. Painting with vibrant colors has always been her hobby, inspired by growing up in a multi-cultural environment where traditional art and customs have been embraced. By the year 2000, Ching and her husband, Khoo started ArtBug, an interior decorative art company. She is currently a full time painter, accepting commissions.

 

Deforestation is Major Environmental Concern in Malaysia

One of Malaysia’s main environmental challenges is deforestation. Much of the country’s economic growth can be attributed to its forest industry, but this has created the problems of deforestation. Between 1990 and 2010 Malaysia lost 8.6% of its forest cover, or around 1,920,000 hectares. There is still a relatively high forest coverage with estimates of 59.9% of the total area covered by forests — a sizeable portion of this is untouched virgin forests which date back to around 130 million years.

But a major problem created by the deforestation has been the elimination of habitat of many of the endemic species.  At east a fifth of Malaysia’s mammal species, including the Sumatran serow,  Sumatran rhino, dugong and the Malayan tiger, face extinction, with many numbering only in the hundreds.
Data from the World Bank showed that 70 of Malaysia’s 336 mammal species were threatened as of 2014, the seventh highest in the world in this category.   Birds, fish and plants are also at risk.  Malaysia’s population of Sumatran rhino, for example, has been almost completely wiped out mainly because of the monetary value of its horn.

Another problem created by deforestation has been that the traditional ways of life of the indigenous peoples in Malaysia are being destroyed because they depend on the rainforest for medicine, shelter, food, and other necessities. As the forest disappears, so does their culture.

The Malaysian Nature Society is active in advocating protection of forest and The Forest Research Institute of Malaysia has also been actively conducting research on the biodiversity of Malaysia’s forests as well as in conservation.

ChinChewFang-500
Two in One

by Chew Fang Chin
Sarawak, Malaysia

“This is a challenge for me as an artist to transform a rusted metal into an art creation. This is also my support to this meaningful and creative recycle project from Kuching in Malaysia.”   Chew Fang Chin

 

Chew Fang Chin is a professional artist who has had more than 28 solo Art Exhibitions in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Australia, Taiwan, US and other countries.   His website is at:  www.fangchin.com

In his art, by combining a mixture of watercolor and Chinese ink, he is able to give a deeper insight into the Sarawak indigenous people.

Sarawak is Malaysia’s largest state. Its natural beauty is rich in flora and fauna — many threatened as noted above — and many designs in the arts and crafts are based on age-old legends. Located in the northwestern part of Borneo – known as the land of the Hornbills – it is a place of natural splendor, history, and mystery and is home to numerous indigenous cultures. Sarawak is well known for it’s ethnic diversity and the cultured lifestyle of its people – Sarawak has 27 ethnic groups, 45 languages and dialects who live together in peace and harmony.

The Sarawak Tourism Ministry selected Chin’s “Ethnic Impression” Series for its 1993 and 1994 tourism calendars.

The Ibans – Sarawak’s largest ethnic group – live in longhouses. Known for its warriors, they were one feared headhunters of Borneo. The women are among the finest weavers of Borneo and the “Pau Kumbu” is their masterpiece. The Malays are another major ethnic group and are known for their beautifully crafted wooden houses, and the “kain songkat” and “selayah keringkam” (textiles worked with gold and silver thread). The Bidayuh also live in longhouses, and are known for the “kesah” mats – stoutly woven from rattan and beaten tree bark to produce a hardy floor covering.

The Orang Ulu are the most artistically oriented of Borneo’s ethic people. Their massive longhouses are decorated with murals, their utensils are embellished with intricate beadwork, and the women cover their hands, arms, legs and feet with finely detailed tattoos.

 

chew-fang-chin-1nChew was the country’s first artist to exhibit in Qingdao Museum and Jinan Hall, China. Chew is also the first Malaysian artist to exhibit his artwork in the Academia SINICA Taiwan, R.O.C.

Chew’s paintings are in collections of art galleries and museums around the world in Malaysia, Australia, China, Singapore and Taiwan, as well as private collections in the United States, Europe and Asia.