'Tip of the Iceberg'  

Focal Point Gallery  Southend on Sea, 12 September 2021 to 9 January 2022

Slow Progress

Anna Lukala shares her studies into plants, the cultural history of South Essex and natural pigment research, through an installation revealing her exploratory practice that is driven by curiosity and intuitive experimentation. Offering a ‘behind the scenes’ opportunity for visitors to look and learn about traditional methods of making pigments and inks, Finnish-born Lukala aims to bring back vibrant colours and dyes that illustrate the material culture of her adopted local area around Southend, bringing undocumented techniques and processes from the past into the present through presenting them in a public gallery setting.

Lukala describes, ‘The central themes of my practice are sustainable explorations of local botanical and mineral colours. I am specifically invested in the process of the slow and mindful practice of growing, foraging, harvesting, tendering, with a big emphasis on gratitude and land stewardship. I am fascinated with historic ways of processing and extracting colours, from plant and mineral sources, whether for fabric dye, ink, paint, watercolour or dry pigment medium. I work with a sustainable ‘from soil to soil’ ethos in reciprocity with nature, and a consideration of finding methods of reduced energy and water consumption in my processes. Inspired by the origins of natural colour, its use in history as a creative medium within the arts and craft movement, I am also inspired by ancestral folk traditions that predated synthetic pigments. My specific concerns are the disappearing of these material cultural practices and the lack of records of these traditions in local historic context.’


Slow progress install images.

In January 2021 I was awarded the DYCP grant by Arts Council England  . This gave me the time and space to develop and explore new ways of working. This exhibition is an accumulation of my research and experiments. 

Using Format