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ST GEORGE'S VENICE ARTWORK BOOSTS ENVIRONMENTAL MESSAGE

St. George’s Anglican Church has been hosting a large-scale painting of endangered species by Irish artist Michelle Rogers as part of the opening of the 57th Venice Biennale, a city-wide contemporary visual art exhibition, so called because it is held biennially in odd-numbered years;

Michelle’s work, “Eco Primavera”, incorporates more than 100 small threatened and endangered species of insects, frogs, birds and flowers as an environmental homage to Italian painter Sandro Botticelli. “Eco Primavera” is the same size as the Botticelli original. Botticelli adored nature and painted over one hundred flowers in his own ‘Primavera’.  

Members of the church’s Environmental group say “Our planet is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, called the Holocene extinction. We’re currently experiencing the worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. 99 percent of currently threatened species are at risk from human activities, primarily those driving habitat loss, introduction of exotic species, and global warming. For the past twenty years Michelle Rogers has worked as an artist for social justice and human rights, more recently focusing her activism on climate change. As a founding member of Artists For Environment, she fervently believes in the ability of creativity to change the world.” 

Previous environmental exhibitions by the artist include "I Am from Where I Am,” in Dublin; “On Earth as It Is in Heaven,” in Rome; and “Tender Alchemy,” in New York. She was also invited by Ban Ki-Moon to attend the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations, in New York. She is working on a second painting in this series, “ECO Venus,” at the Earth Institute of Columbia University. Her mid-career retrospective opened at Rathfarnham Castle, in Dublin, on June 16, 2017. 

The exhibition culminated in a service of sung Evensong, during which Fr Alaric Lewis, Chaplain in Funegirola, on Spain’s Costa Del Sol, who is a friend of the artist, blessed the work.

(Information from Hilary Wild)