In his new exhibition ‘Through the eyes of an Ostrich’ artist Andrew Burns Colwill explores society’s current attitudes to climate change, political posturing and our collective responsibility for the planet for future generations. I caught up with Andrew at the weekend and asked him about his drivers for this new show.


Show Full Text

‘This period of time seems to be more important because of our enhancement of some powerful weaponry where we have the capability of being able to mess each other right up if we want to. People are saying ‘It will be alright someone else will sort it out’ and again it’s the Brexit thing that is bugging me too. People just didn’t believe that it would happen and it did. It might be for the good, no one really knows, I’m not a financier, but for me to be creating borders right now is suicide and that is what this show is all about. People closing their eyes to what is going on around them.’

Of his new exhibition he continues:

‘An Ostrich has its head buried in the sand, worse than that it’s got Ray-Bans on. This exhibition is about what I see things happening around and people just ignoring it, or not being aware of it, or being aware of it but choosing not to do anything about it but just carrying on with their lives. This will cause us massive problems if we don’t start looking and understanding the environmental impact we are having for our children and our children’s children. People have got to start waking up. It is still a good time to act if we start opening our eyes and look at the planet we are living on and its resources.’

This new exhibition continues the theme he started earlier in the year with his 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat exhibition. Here Andrew’s work commented on the possibilities of our way forward with technological advances in different ways of growing food (Beef Tanks), people (Test Tube Babies) and body parts (Spare Parts) but with also severe warnings of what could be the consequences of our actions if we do not look after the planet (The Scream, Penguins and Polar Bears).

For him this work started around the time of the Trump election and Brexit – he says: ‘I think it became very important to me when Donald Trump got into power and then Theresa May and the Brexit vote. People like me started thinking we can’t go on like this. I don’t want to put any political view point across but what I do want to do is to make sure that the planet is as safe as possible for our grandchildren whilst we are in this particular situation globally that we are in at the moment. Some people seem seem bent on not only destroying not only everything on the planet but also everybody. So my work has taken that sudden swerve to preserving what we can.’

I popped up to see Andrew’s new work this weekend ahead of the show on Friday and it is powerful stuff. A harrowed figure watches helplessly through the window at plumes of smoke from the Twin Towers, the human ostriches in oil fields with technology as a manifestation and multiplication of our destruction of the planet. The figures in sunglasses which have become so iconic in his recent work are repeated and put in the spotlight in this new body of work.

Sunglasses started featuring in his last exhibition particularly with the two seagulls in his ‘A seagull stole my shades’ paintings. The caption for the paintings read:

‘A seagull stole my sunglasses once.

A seagull stole my sunglasses twice.

Could not afford another pair.

So I stopped wearing sunglasses….

Now I see a lot more, especially at night…..

Thanks seagulls.’

Faceless people in sunglasses also feature in his much acclaimed ‘Arctic Scream’ at this year’s Upfest in Bristol (Europe’s larges street art festival). In this work he places the polar bear screaming out holding a dead cub as the ice cap melts and she stands on a mound of white plastic waste. Here Colwill’s polar bear represents the top predator (humans) destroying the planet. Of these figures Andy says ‘These represent the average person who says ‘This is not my problem, it’s becoming all of our problems. We all have to wake up to it. It’s not a joke anymore and you have to take your sunglasses off. Let the seagulls have them.’

His new show will feature eleven new paintings done for this collection along with a few from his earlier exhibition this year 20/50 Vision:Tomorrow’s Habitat. It will be a feast for the eyes and food for the brain. Highly recommended for people who are happy to leave their sunglasses at home.

Meet the artist

Andrew Burns Colwill’s latest exhibition ‘Through through the eyes of an Ostrich’ opens on Friday 6 October 6pm. Andrew will be live painting on Saturday 7 October from midday. The exhibition runs till 26 October at The Ropewalk, 6 Nelson Parade, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4JA (closed Mondays).

More info: andisart.com

The Scream from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.andisart.com

Beef Tanks from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

Test Tube Babies from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

Spare parts from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

Penguins from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

Polar bears from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

A seagull stole my shades 2 from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

A seagull stole my shades 1 from 20/50 Vision: Tomorrow’s Habitat by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

Arctic Scream for Upfest 2017 by Andrew Burns Colwill

Photograph Neil Roberts

Image credits: www.the-kane.gallery

Through the eyes of an Ostrich – new exhibition by Andrew Burns Colwill

Image credits: www.andisart.com

Interview with Andrew Burns Colwill – people say ‘it’s not my problem’

Interview by Auntie G with Andrew Burns Colwill during Upfest 2017.

Image credits: www.youtube.com