Lunar art that’s going out of this world


Over to the Moon: Vicki Sullivan is counting down to when a digitised version of her Moon Goddess painting (above) will be involved in an historic Moon landing. She is pictured at her St Andrews Beach studio with her Birth of Venus painting of Grace Farriss (daughter of INXS member Andrew Farris) commissioned for Grace’s upcoming solo Album.

ARTIST Vicki Sullivan chose the Moon as a light source to give her painting Moon Goddess an ethereal feeling.

Little did she know that when first applying oil paint to a portrait of model Lena at her St Andrews Beach studio, that an image of the finished work would end up on the Moon.

Sullivan’s work is included in a digital archive of works by visual, music and literary artists being carried in a time capsule aboard the Astrobiotics Peregrine Lunar Lander scheduled to be sent to the Moon in July. Sheww said the delivery would be the first art by women on the Moon.

While scientific  instruments make up most of the Peregrine’s 90 kilogram cargo, physicist, writer and collector Dr Samuel Peralta has included works by 417 writers and artists on a micro SD card delivered in a DHL MoonBox. Listed as Manifest 9, Dr Peralta’s is the largest of 125 primary author payloads on the lunar lander.

Sullivan painted Moon Goddess in 2019 specifically for last year’s Storytellers exhibition at Melbourne’s Flinders Lane Gallery. The painting is now in Barcelona at the European Museum of Modern Art in the Women Painting Exhibition which opened on the 6 March.

But the Goddess being sent to Spain pales into insignificance when compared to a copy going to the Moon (average 348,400km from Earth).

“As far as I know, Moon Goddess will be the first goddess on the actual Moon. It’s mind boggling stuff,” Sullivan said.

“I just love moonlight and wanted to try a nocturne painting and thought a figurative painting would look beautiful and ethereal with a moonlight background.”

The lander will touch down in the Lacus Mortis region of the Moon after being launched from Cape Canaveral in the United States. It will be the first mission carrying commercial payloads to the lunar surface.

“This is the first commercial launch to the Moon in history and marks the first US spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo program over 50 years ago,” Dr Peralta said.

“Our hope is that future travellers who find this capsule will discover some of the richness of our world today. “These works on the Moon speak to the idea that, despite wars and pandemics and climate upheaval, humankind found time to dream, time to create art.”

Let’s hope whoever or whatever finds the digitised treasure trove of art at some time in the future has the technology to open it.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 9 March 2021


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