The Fleurieu App

Art that is out of this world

The Fleurieu App

Anna Kantilaftas

04 May 2024, 8:30 PM

Art that is out of this worldCheryl Bridgart: Gentle Whispering embroidery. Photo John Marshman

South Australia will have the opportunity to witness an extraordinary intersection of lunar exploration and local creativity with the Lunar Codex exhibition at the Artworx Gallery in Goolwa.


A group of five South Australian artists are preparing to send their creative expressions of the world around them to the moon through the Lunar Codex program.


In a captivating venture echoing the historic 'Moon Museum' and 'Fallen Astronaut,' Canadian physicist and artist Samuel Peralta is endeavouring to enrich the Moon's art collection with his visionary program.


Representing almost every country globally, this celestial anthology spans diverse genres and mediums, encapsulating the essence of contemporary human creativity. Set for three launches over 18 months, this monumental project unites more than 30,000 contributors, who will send their works to the Moon via private missions by SpaceX and United Launch Alliance.


The art works will be part of the payload on various space missions, carried in time capsules known as Codex Orion, Codex Peregrine, Codex Nova, Codex Serenity, Codex Polaris, and Codex Freya. Each capsule is associated with a different mission, contributing to the diverse placement of contemporary arts on the Moon.


Codex Polaris will feature more than 200 pieces of art, with the entire program incorporating artists from more than 162 countries around the world.


On May 26 this year, the Lunar Codex will arrive on the Fleurieu Peninsula, with pieces created by the South Australian cohort of artists adorning the walls of the Artworx Gallery in Goolwa for the exhibition Atelier Australis.

Janette Humble, a musician and self-taught-artist, will have artwork sent on the Codex Polaris launch in November 2024, alongside Cheryl Bridgart, J Jo Headon, and Robin Hicks.


The collective was first united through the late Graeme Stevenson’s TV show, Colour In Your Life, which toured the world showcasing artists and their studios. When Graeme sent around an email informing all the artists who had been on his show of Peralta’s mission to send art to the moon, the South Aussie women leapt at the opportunity. In doing so, they also decided to come together for a local exhibition.


What sets this exhibition apart is not just the artistic diversity but the destination – the moon itself. The artists' episodes, recorded by Stevenson, underwent a digital transformation before being sent to NASA. The episodes were then uploaded onto nickel-shielded discs, becoming part of the payload for a series of launches. The first one took place in January this year.

Janette Humble artwork

Inspired by the colours of the Australian Outback, Janette explains, “We've called our exhibition Atelier Australis because it’s our take on how we see our environment; our Australia.


“This is what we would like visitors on the moon to see and experience about our space here because maybe someone or thing will go to the moon in a million years and find it, and they'll look at this and they'll think, ‘Wow, what is this amazing place?’.”


The Lunar Codex, envisioned and championed by Samuel Peralta, is a remarkable project that materialises the dream of sending the creative works of tens of thousands of artists, authors, musicians, and filmmakers to the Moon.


In conjunction with NASA's Artemis Program, which aims to return humans to the Moon by 2026, the Lunar Codex strategically leverages Commercial Lunar Payload Service missions and partnerships with entities like Astrobotic Technologies.


Comprising six time capsules, including Codex Orion and Codex Freya that venture beyond Earth's orbit, and four archival missions—Peregrine, Nova, Serenity, and Polaris—destined for the Moon's surface, the Lunar Codex represents the first significant placement of contemporary arts on the lunar landscape in over fifty years.


Atelier Australis, the exhibition curated by the South Australian women, unfolds as an eclectic selection of various styles and mediums of visual artworks , including for the first time embroidery. Each artist brings a unique perspective to the collection, collectively portraying their personal experiences of living on Earth.


Janette explains that her paintings delve into the nuanced realms of mood, drama, fragility, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the Australian Outback.


“So my work is about capturing the essence and emotion of the fleeting moment . I’ve got sunrises and sunsets, crashing oceans , stormy skies with animals trying to get shelter in the shadows of these massive storms. There are waterways in the Northern Territory that are so silent and still and then rainforests and the cacophony of sound from all the birds. So my work is all about mood and atmosphere.” 


This exhibition not only serves as a platform for showcasing the talents of South Australian artists but also marks a historic moment in lunar exploration.


Robin says, "This is the second time that women have been represented with their artwork anywhere on the moon or anywhere in such a situation in the time capsule."


“I guess really the story is larger than any of the individuals…. We've talked to each other a lot and looked at ‘what's my significance in this?’ and actually, it is a privilege to be part of it. Hopefully my art will talk to somebody on earth, but also maybe on the moon too.”


As the artists ready themselves for the November launch, the profound impact of their involvement in the Lunar Codex project becomes increasingly apparent. Janette encourages exploring the theme of the artists' relationship with the planet and the universe, leaving room for contemplation about our existence and the mysteries beyond.


In a world often characterised by competitiveness, this collaborative effort of five female artists from South Australia exemplifies the power of supporting each other's dreams. Their art, now destined for a life beyond Earth, transcends boundaries and connects humanity through the universal language of creativity.


The Atelier Australis exhibition at Artworx Gallery is not just an art show; it's a celestial voyage of imagination and inspiration, inviting viewers to ponder the profound connection between Earth, the cosmos, our environment, and human connectivity with all that lies beyond. 

The Fleurieu App
The Fleurieu App
Fleurieu at your fingertips

Get it on the Apple StoreGet it on the Google Play Store