Newton Harrison is an artist practising in California. Recently he responded to a request from the Barn Arts centre, Aberdeenshire, to produce a work on the Don and Dee catchments where the Barn is located.
He flew over the catchments in an aeroplane. This journey inspired him to write a poem about the whole of Scotland, entitled “On the Deep Wealth of this Nation”.
It is a call for Scotland’s people to collectively tend long-term to their amazing environment, not through superficial administrative measures but in deep ways. In particular he calls on us to tend our soil and water resources. In so doing, Scotland could become “the first nation in this history of nations to generate its deep wealth ecologically”.
Harrison and his wife, Helen Mayer Harrison, known simply as “the Harrisons”, practising artists since the 70’s, set up the Centre for the Study of the Force Majeure, which “brings together artists and scientists to design ecosystem-adaptation projects in critical regions around the world to respond to climate change.”
The poem, reproduced below, is accessible by checking out Center’s website. The video accompanying the poem should be accessible via the Barn Arts Centre website.
It is a powerful vision.
If we start to consider our nation as a fractal pattern of rich bioregional resources rather than a single economic unit using GDP as the sole indicator of its health, this pattern could form the basis of a blueprint to help turn this vision into reality.
In Honor and Memory of Helen Mayer Harrison
July 1st, 1927-March 24th, 2018