British artist Saskia Saunders recently held her first solo exhibition, Sanctuary, in Hong Kong. Sanctuary, often referred to as a sacred place where people feel safe and protected, is a place that coexists with nature. “Sanctuary is a place of wellbeing. It nurtures us mentally and physically, just as forests and woodlands do. As we spend time in nature, we want to look after it better and start to consider how we can love it more sustainably.” Saskia said she feels incredibly lucky to live in the Chiltern Hills in England, a place known as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.” “We have ancient woodlands surrounding our village and they are a constant source of inspiration and strength. I particularly love experiencing them through the different seasons.” Saskia defines herself as a sustainable futures artist because she believes that sustainability is the most important issue of our generation. “We need to change the way we live for a better future. As an artist, I have the unique opportunity to inspire people to live a life that is more connected to nature and to prompt people to question how they can make a positive impact on the environment.
Saskia works with a range of natural materials including paper, cotton, linen and hemp. All of these materials have strong structures and distinctive textures making each and every piece of Sadkia’s sculptural works unique and special. Though some might consider these works imperfect (for they are not in perfect shape due to their unique textures and structures), it’s the imperfection where the beauty lies. “Weaving is a method of construction. It’s a way of creating something completely new.” As in meditation, weaving requires intense focus and repetitive movement. Bringing traditional craftsmanship into the modern form, weaving exemplifies the harmony between humanity and nature and a desire for its sustainability. Saskia’s works are inspirational. They are the manifestation of her beliefs and ideas. “When we look at issues of climate change, we, collectively, need to envisage and create a sustainable, regenerative future for ourselves. I also hope to inspire other artists to become sustainable futures artists.”
展覽展出了來自3個不同系列的作品，包括《Subtle Nature》帆布和牆壁雕塑、《Seed of Light》的小雕塑和最新系列《Peace in Rest》裡的幾件作品。雖然它們都不太一樣，但當作品放在一起時卻有種互相補足的感覺。「我最喜歡的作品是<Light Fall>，是由Koyari的紙紗編織出來的。這作品是特別地為Contemporary Craft Centre訂製編織的，它能美麗地捕捉光和擁有飄逸的力量。這紙紗展示了它的強韌與精緻、與自然平衡的美麗，同時反映著我們需要承認不能繼續視地球為用之不竭的資源。」
「當我們仰望林地裡的枯枝，正在提醒我們季節的變遷、大自然裡的休息與循環，這是城市裡的人往往忘記的。冬天裡的枯枝光禿禿的，卻又非常堅強。」《Peace in Rest》裡寫到。置身於《聖所 Sanctuary》，以另一種方式被大自然包圍著，靜心地看著枯枝在春日回歸的時候，又長出新芽來。
The exhibition showcases works from three different collections by Saskia: canvases and wall sculptures from Subtle Nature, small sculptures of Seeds of Light, and a few new pieces from her latest collection, Peace in Rest. While these pieces look very different, they complement one another.“My favourite piece is Light Fall which is handwoven with Koyari paper yarn. This piece is a bespoke weaving created for the Contemporary Craft Centre. It catches the light beautifully and has an ethereal energy. The paper yarn means that it is strong as well as delicate, a beautiful reflection of the balance of nature and how we must acknowledge that we can’t keep treating our planet as a finite resource.”
For Peace in Rest, Saskia wrote, “Looking up at the winter branch-scapes of the woodlands reminds me of the natural cycles of rest that we too often forget in modern life. To rest means to pare back to the essentials. To feel like the deciduous branches in winter, bare yet strong.” Being in Sanctuary is like being in nature during the Springtime, watching new buds appearing on the once withered branches.