Micro Grants Recipient | Karma Barnes

Micro Grants Recipient | Karma Barnes

Karma Barnes’s creative practice encompasses installation art, painting, participatory and social-impact practices, community and street art. Engagement and participation are integral to her work, and drawing on large numbers of people to collaborate on colossal scale projects is her passion. Karma is a Northern Rivers, NSW artist born in Auckland New Zealand. She holds a Masters Degree in Creative and Expressive Arts Practise and a Bachelors Degree of Art and Creativity.

Karma’s work examines how we are formed and informed by relationships through the intersections of nature and culture. Karma’s work is inspired by her deep fascination with the endless cycles of life and death, creation and destruction and how we are shaped and changed by our internal and external experiences, elements and impermanence.

Karma participatory projects have engaged over 10,000 people in collaborative art- making through public art exhibits of large scale site-specifc installations. Karma recently returned from exhibiting the Imagine the Land Project that she co-directs at the MACRO Asilo – The Rome Museum of Contemporary Art, where the project exhibited an 18 meter
long installation made from locally gathered soil pigments.

Karma has works extensively as an art therapist and community arts worker with peak community social and health organisations across the Northern Rivers. Her <In.scribe> Youth Arts Mentoring Project has been facilitating and mentoring young people in the region since 2014 producing street-art and community arts projects that showcases our
youth’s creative voices, including the regions largest youth artwork.

Through the Micro Grants initiative, Karma will be leading Super Rough Seas, a Community Recovery Art Project seeking to bring together stories and experiences during the COVID-19 isolation period in a Street Art Story Montage. The work will be a visual storytelling of our communities compounded lived experiences through the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as recent fires, drought and floods. Super Rough Seas will explore our narratives around how we may all be in the same rough sea’s during these challenging times but our boats are all different shapes and capacities.​

Community members of all ages from around the Northern Rivers are invited to submit images of their artworks/drawings/sketches created during or in a reflection of the isolation period of COVID-19 as well as artworks made in relation to the recent fires, drought or floods, social justice/ injustice and climate change. ​

The foundation of the ‘Super Rough Seas’ Street Art Story Montage will be a body of artworks created by Karma Barnes in regional soil pigment paints and inks that she has created during the isolation lock-down period around the themes of the pandemic and fires and their effects on local animals and her personal and the communities lived experiences of these. These works alongside community artworks will be montaged together, printed in a large scale format and installed in a large scale paste-up artwork in a public space in our community.

The projects seeks to connect our community and make sense of our personal and shared experience through art. Collaboration and community are key as the process builds towards shared experiences in the making; embracing impermanence and change. The artwork will weather and decompose naturally on the wall over a six-month duration. The work will be documented as a time capsule of shared and lived experiences.