When Hay Meets High Art
Installations and Photography by Becka Viau
Canadian artist Becka Viau’s muse is agriculture.
Her past projects include an interactive photo project about young farmers and installation art inspired by robotic milkers. Starting in May, she’ll adorn hay bales on working farms across Prince Edward Island with lush arrangements of living ﬂowers for her “Agrarian Monuments” installation series.
The ﬂowers will live, die and deteriorate depending on weather conditions. “Hay bales are this romantic symbol of pastoralism, but the hay bale is a manufactured object. It takes a very speciﬁc type of machine to make this speciﬁc type of bale,” says Viau, who threaded dozens of perfect red roses into a prototype last year.
Her work is a reaction to landscape painters who use bales as romantic symbols for agrarian life. Yes, hers will be pretty, too, but they will also highlight the cycle of life and death on a farm. It will be beautiful, but will also have the “feeling of a graveyard,” says Viau.