Island School students are no strangers to terms like: ephemeral, site-specific, impermanence, and interdependence. The Environmental Art curriculum even includes a unit investigating site-specific sculpture using natural materials to better cultivate a deeper sense of place. In addition to Sustainability and Intentional Community, Sense of Place is one of the three pillars of The Island School semester.
This past fall, upon return from expeditions, students chose a final project focus. A group of 8 students, guided by Island School faculty Hanna Atwood and Max Malberti, began to investigate and create large-scale site-specific art installations.
We were especially honored, therefore, to host a nationally recognized artist who also celebrates the power of art to connect to the earth and to one’s self. Andres Amador is known for his large-scale, ephemeral, site-specific installations using locally sourced, natural materials. Andres has termed his style of artwork Earthscapes and has accepted artwork commissions that have taken him throughout the United States and the world.
Andres encouraged students to use this opportunity to create artwork that is a vehicle for introspection and grounding. As students worked in the sands of Eleuthera alongside the timing of tides and pulse of the waves, that very impermanence was exemplified and embraced. Throughout the week-long visit and student involvement, the group created 3 different Earthscapes and documented the process in video.
This island and the ocean surrounding it is like a jewel box full of treasures. One of those gems sits just 30 miles from campus and is a sacred space for reflection and introspection. Any student who has spent 48-hours sitting under the stars on Lighthouse Beach knows this deeply and intimately. Lisa Schmitt, Director of Arts, worked with Andres to coordinate an Earthscape at this remote location as an homage to all the natural resources of the island and in the hope that these special sacred spaces may be protected.
Andres Amador was born in San Francisco to political activist parents. He attended University of Alaska at Fairbanks and graduated from University of California at Davis in Environmental Sciences. After 3 years of Peace Corps service in Ecuador developing conservation curriculum, Andres returned to San Francisco. He now lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains with his wife and young child.
“My artworks do not last long… within minutes of finishing a piece, and often while still in progress, the returning tide begins resettling the canvas. Through this artform I have come to value the contemplative act of creation for its own sake. The entire act becomes a meditation of being in the moment, of celebrating and being at peace with life and death. My wish is for the viewer to experience a sense of wonder, immediacy, and appreciation for the fleeting aspects of our lives.”