Caitlin Fargher, Sweet Water, 2020, photo: Jessica KingAn Education Resource for Kindergarten to Year 6.

Many contemporary artists are concerned about the toxicity of art materials, such as in some coloured inks and paints, and the hazardous waste of the chemicals needed to clean them up. Instead of using harmful products, they are exploring new kinds of materials and techniques.

In Tasmania, artist Caitlin Fargher uses materials such as toffee, meringue, clay and ice to create sculptural art installations.

“A lot of my process is cooking, and scientific experimentation. I like to use natural / recycled materials as much as possible, and things that aren’t costly to the environment (no plastics unless I reallllllyy have to…) I like to get messy and I like it when the things I’m making smell good, and sometimes taste good too!”

Tasmanian artist Caitlin Fargher

In her exhibition Sweet Water, multidisciplinary installation artist Caitlin Fargher reimagines what Hadley’s was like in the early 1800s when the hotel housed a lush garden and inventive pastry shop – akin to Jacob Kowalski’s fabulous bakery in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In the Leadlight Room, the historic coloured-glass patterns in the ceiling are mirrored in toffee, poised atop a tall, decorative table. Like Alice’s shrinking in Wonderland, it challenges scale and prompts us to look up in awe.

Central to the installation is a three-tiered fountain adorned with hand-sculpted clay tiles glazed with the ash of local fallen trees (teatree and casurina). The clay was collected around Hobart. It represents the unearthing of histories that are swept under the paving, tiles and facades – the colonial history of attempting to tame nature and the dark past of invasion. The trickling sounds of the fountain evoke the Hobart rivulet which frequently flooded Hobart Town. From the muddy streets outside, stepping into Hadley’s Orient Hotel was a sweet oasis.

With its raw and sweet materials, this art installation speaks of Hobart’s past while also representing hope for a sustainable and engaged future, a paradise to be.

Download the Educaton Resources as a PDF.