IT is no exaggeration to say works by Rye artist Vicki Sullivan are out of this world.
If all went to plan, digitised copies of her paintings were on Monday (8 January) scheduled to leave Earth aboard a rocket headed for the Moon.
The Astrobotic’s Peregrine Mission 1 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida carried an exhibition, Artists on the Moon or Annex 9, in a time capsule.
The collection, organised by Canadian physicist, entrepreneur, and storyteller Dr Samuel Peralta with art publisher Didi Menendez, includes art magazines, art exhibition catalogues, anthologies of art and poetry, essays, short stories, scientific documents and biography.
Sullivan said she was “so lucky and incredibly grateful” to have been included among the 800 creative artists chosen for the Moon shot.
The launch could be delayed as late as 12 January if conditions are not favourable.
“This will be the first US spacecraft to land on the Moon since the Apollo program 50 years ago. It is also the first commercial launch to the moon,” she said.
Sullivan said the works in Annex 9 would not be the first art on the Moon “but it is the first time anyone has ever launched the work of women artists to the Moon and Australian artists”.
Already on the Moon is Moon Museum, a small ceramic wafer covertly attached to a leg of the lunar module Intrepid, containing artworks by six artists from the late 1960s.
In August 1971, Fallen Astronaut, a nine centimetre aluminium sculpture of an astronaut in a spacesuit by Paul Van Hoeydonck was left on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 15 next to a plaque listing the 14 men who died.
Sullivan simply attributes “serendipity” to the chances of her Moon Goddess portrait being “the first goddess on the Moon”.
The painting was completed in 2020 and used as the cover for the Storytellers exhibition catalogue at Flinders Lane Gallery, Melbourne.
Later, the Artists on the Moon or Annex 9 project chose the Storytellers catalogue to be included in a time capsule scheduled to be sent to Moon this week.
“I had no idea that I may be painting the Moon Goddess who may be the first Moon Goddess on the Moon,” Sullivan said of the work that features Lena, a model she first met in Italy.
“Throughout history, humans have been profoundly affected and inspired by the Moon,” Sullivan said. “From ancient civilisations to modern times, the Moon has captivated our imaginations and stirred our emotions. Its ethereal beauty, mysterious presence, and ever-changing phases have sparked a sense of wonder and awe within us.
“The Moon has been a symbol of romance, guiding lovers under its gentle glow. It has also served as a navigational tool, guiding explorers and sailors across vast oceans.
“Artists, poets, and writers have found inspiration in its luminous presence, capturing its essence in their works.
“The Moon’s influence extends beyond the realms of art and literature, as scientific discoveries and space exploration have been driven by our fascination with this celestial body.
“Whether it’s the ancient myths and legends or the scientific exploration of the Moon, its impact on humanity is undeniable, and it continues to inspire us to reach for the stars.”
Peralta described the creatives whose works are to be included in the planned five Lunar Codex collections as “our representatives from Earth to the Moon, our ambassadors from this era to the future”.
“Our hope is that future travellers who find these time capsules will discover some of the richness of our world today. It speaks to the idea that, despite wars and pandemics and climate upheaval, humankind found time to dream, time to create art.”