LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 13 Number 1, November 2012, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor-in-Chief: Zac Gethin-Damon

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Suggestions for young artists who want to enter the Volcano Art Prize (VAP)

By Tony Lennon and Elizabeth O’Brien

The topics for lead-safety messages listed below have been designed to direct young entrants to subjects we feel are relevant to the behaviour changes that will be necessary in creating a lead-safe world and also suitable for imaging and creating an artwork. Each of the 12 winning entries will be used in a landscape A4 page illustrating a month of the year for the proposed 2013 Calendar/Catalogue and the winners’ lead-safety message, name and age (if under 18 years of age) and the title of their artwork will be printed next to their image.

The examples given below are just suggestions to help you focus on a topic and it’s really up to you and your creative genius to come up with a winning message and image. Good Luck!

1          In our lead-safe future, the only source of lead in air, will be volcanoes: The Volcano Art Prize is named after a volcano because they are a natural source of lead in the air and if in the future, volcanoes were the only source of lead in the air, we’d know that humans had managed lead to the point where it could be used safely. The LEAD Group envisions a time when all the lead in the world that has already been mined and smelted, is made into lead acid batteries and after they’ve been used (to start our cars and trains and to store our solar and wind energy etc) they’ll be recycled lead-safely and made in to new lead acid batteries. Current news: August eruption in New Zealand of Mt Tongariro. Did you know that Australia is the home of many extinct volcanoes and you can even see a lava flow on the foreshores of Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach?

2          Leadlighting: The art of lead lighting has produced many fine works of window art all over the world. But it has been a very dangerous craft to participate in until today when we can now do it safely, in a workplace properly set up for the purpose. See http://www.lead.org.au/fs/fs18.html

3          Lead Flashing: Buildings constructed in the 19th and 20th centuries in Australia typically had lead flashing on the roof (thin strips of grey metal around the chimney or where two sections of roof meet, to stop the rain getting into the ceiling void). Much of this lead flashing remains on buildings even when a rainwater tank is added to the building – thus contaminating the drinking water with lead. Can you image any buildings with lead flashing and a rainwater tank in your area?

4          Blood Lead Tests: You can go to your doctor to have your blood painlessly tested for lead. The doctor may refer you to a clinic where they will take some of your blood and send it to a laboratory for testing. How would you feel about having a blood lead test? Maybe a pretend picture of you being tested by a friend who is dressed like a doctor or nurse?

Richardson5          Old Lead Paint: Many old houses in Australia have peeling lead paint on their walls or roof. Image an old building in your area which may have peeling lead paint on it. Or one that is having the peeling paint safely wet-scraped off onto plastic sheeting, or is being safely stripped of paint using chemical strippers. (see 2012 winner Janet Richardson photo to the right)

Van_Gogh6          Lead in Cigarettes: Cigarettes also contain lead. Why not photograph a shop that sells cigarettes or dirty cigarette buts and packets in your area? Or image signs forbidding the smoking of cigarettes. Or for inspiration, see the classic painting of a skeleton smoking by Vincent Van Gogh (yet another painter who is thought to have gone mad due to lead poisoning from the lead in his paints) at www.lead.org.au/Taylor_Tobacco_&_Lead_Toxicity_20101001.pdf (see to the right)

7          Traditional Medicines may contain lead and should be tested before use: Do a websearch to find out which medicines have been tested and found to be leaded. Eg Tiro is used in Nigeria as a folk remedy to promote visual development, and was responsible for the lead poisoning of a 6 month old baby boy in the USA – see http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6130a3.htm?s_cid=mm6130a3_e and there are many other examples including one fatal lead poisoning in a child given a traditional medicine in India – see http://ukpmc.ac.uk/articles/PMC2538609/reload=0;jsessionid=8bStOmN8M3jys0twQ46O.16

8          Lead acid batteries used in motor vehicles should be collected and should only be recycled by experts: Take images of used car batteries you see discarded or being used as door-stops etc in your area and make a montage of the images.

9          Don’t ever melt lead down at home: carefully dispose of the metal by taking it to a scrap metal collector. Make an image of scrap lead metal like fishing sinkers, lead bullets or lead shot, lead flashing from a roof or under a window, used lead acid batteries, old lead pipes, etc.

10        Port Pirie which is in South Australia, processes the lead ore from Australian mines and many of the inhabitants have been lead poisoned over the last 123 years. Take some images of Port Pirie showing what it is like to live in the shadow of the world’s largest lead smelter.

Goya11        Today you can buy artists paints that do not contain heavy metals like lead, but if you are using leaded artists paints, make sure you never hold the paintbrushes in your mouth or get the paint in or on you. The great Spanish painter Francisco Goya may have gone mad and died of lead poisoning because he made his own artists paints - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Goya (see to the left) - You could take some images of Goya’s work and create your own digital works. Robert Hannaford is an Australian artist who suffered from cancer probably because of the lead and cadmium in his artists’ paints, and his habit of holding the paint brushes in his mouth. See http://australianetwork.com/nexus/stories/s2097088.htm

12        Always buy lead-free products if they are available eg lead-free ammunition, crystal, fishing sinkers, jewellery, artists’ paints, wheel weights, etc. Spent lead bullets, shot and pellets as well as lost fishing sinkers are poisoning birds and animals. For instance, see how American condors have suffered at http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/condors-and-lead-bullets/

Yet, more and more, non-toxic products are coming on to the market. See an article about artists substituting their toxic products for safer products at http://www.nowtoronto.com/columns/ecoholic.cfm?content=182926

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