The Wild Mountain Collective
We are a group of artists, photographers, sculptors, art therapists, philosophers, anthropologists, environmental conservationists, musicians and other like-minded people in the Greater Blue Mountains coming together to use the creative arts to explore and celebrate the ‘wild’ and our sense of interconnected relationship with nature and one another, to engage with a philosophy of regenerative living, an attitude of Interbeing with all things. In this we acknowledge and wish to learn from the 60,000+ year cultural relationship between Australia’s First Nations peoples and Australia’s natural environment, recorded in songlines, music, dance, art, storytelling and kinship structures.
We are part of a growing international zeitgeist that seeks to provoke deeply felt shifts in the human experience of nature, and a deepening conversation with the traditions of diverse indigenous, oral cultures and a recovery of the mysterious eloquence of earthly reality – a deeply immanent sense of the sacred in the world around us, celebrated in the idea of eco-civilisation.
Haydn Washington—environmental poet, scientist, conservationist, academic and published author, “A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature”
John Wolesley—one of Australia’s leading landscape painters, whose unique style tries to relate the minutiae of the natural world – leaf, feather and beetle wing – to the abstract dimensions of the earth’s dynamic systems.
Freya Mathews—environmental philosopher, conservationist, academic, published author, ‘The Ecological Self’, who is currently working on a book about Daoism and Eco-civilisation
The Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network
The Wild Mountain Collective is a project of the Blue Mountains Arts Network. The Blue Mountains Creative Arts Network (BMCAN) is a community-based NFP that aims to support a vibrant, sustainable, creative arts community through leadership, member services and collaborative partnerships. It does this through a range of activities such as:
- Auspicing grants for artists
- Arts Trails and Open Studios for artists
- Group exhibitions for members
- The Talking Art Project
- The Wild Mountain Collective
- Collaborative partnerships with other organisations
- BMCAN Creative Leaders Award annual event
The Blue Mountains—Home of the Wild
The Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (BMWHA) is a wild area of high plateaus, vivid red escarpments, gorges, waterfalls and forest, just 100 km inland from Sydney, Australia’s largest city. It is the traditional homeland of at least six Aboriginal language groups: the Wanaruah, Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Dharawal, Darug and Darkinjung people. The region is networked with Aboriginal stories, travel routes, special places and connections, and thousands of documented rock art and occupation sites. The BMWHA is comprised of eight conservation areas including the Blue Mountains, Wollemi, Garden of Stones and Kanangra-Boyd National Parks. Two-thirds of it is dedicated as wilderness, including the two largest declared wilderness areas on the eastern Australian mainland. It is home to the City of Blue Mountains, which is comprised of 26 urban villages along the Great Western Highway and Bells Line of Road, attracting a large and thriving artistic community with strong environmental connections and is known as the City of the Arts.
Activities of the Wild Mountain Collective
- Mixed Media Exhibitions—exploring the outer and inner, meaning of ‘wild’ and the ethos of living in tune with the rhythms and flow (Dao) of the elements
- Talking Ideas—exploring the insights of different authors at our monthly meet and sharing our own writing in essays and poetry in the Wild Mountain Collective Blog
- Wild Mountain Collective Seminar Series—developing new narratives about the ethos of living in the 21st century of AI and the looming eco-crisis in a land shaped by 60,000 years of indigenous culture
- Workshops, Retreats and Adventures—exploring a new ecology of wonder in the spirit of David Abram and the healing power of direct contact with the natural world
- Alliances and collaborations with like-minded groups and projects across Australia and internationally
Our activities are co-created by our members and will evolve organically over time, depending on the energies of our community.
Members of the Wild Mountain Collective
The Wild Mountain Collective is an open group that welcomes all creative artists and thinkers who share our ethos. The following people have signed up as Members of the Wild Mountain Collective, while others are currently under consideration:
Barbara Lepani—coordinator, writer
Simon Hearn—architect, sculptor
Tod McMillan—artist (painter-academic)
Damian Castaldi—sonic artist, podcaster
Sarah Redshaw—academic sociologist/research advisor
Lorraine Shannon—academic and writer, environmental philosophy
Victor &Sharon Peralta—gallery owners (One88 Fine Arts)
Yuri Bolotin—wilderness explorer, writer, BigCi
Michelle Paulley—teacher, Creative & Performing Arts Faculty, Katoomba High School
Henryk Topolnicki—sculptor, gallery owner (Gallery H, Dargan)
Bryan Cutts—performance artist
Adam Harrison—guitar maker and musician
Caitlin Hughes—mosaic artist
Cindi Drennan—projection artists
Mark O’Carrigan—building designer
Ryan Jasper—film maker
Terry McArthur—musician and lyricist
Willem Hendriksen—musical animateur
Sharon Howard—gallery owner (Gang Gang Gallery)
Natasha Sebire—filmmaker and photographer.
Adrian Gilbert—artist (painter)
Brad Diedrich—web designer
Information about the current activities of BMAN (the previous organisation of BMCAN) can be found at: www.facebook.com/BlueMountainsArtistsNetwork/posts and www.bman.org.au and Instagram, Bmartsnetwork and bmansocial