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Karma Barnes

Image: Giorgio Sacher

born. 1979. Tāmaki Makaurau | Aotearoa New Zealand  | lives. Bundjalung Country | NSW | Australia

Karma Barnes is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand who lives and works on Bundjalung Country, Northern Rivers, New South Wales, Australia. Her art encompasses site-specific installations, painting, social practice and participatory practices. She graduated in 2014 with a Master's Degree in Creative and Expressive Arts Practice and 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Art and Creativity. With a focus on engaging communities, Karma's large-scale projects involve collaboration with numerous individuals. For the past 15 years, she has explored pigments and soils, examining the critical connections between people and the land. Her work has reached a wide audience, with exhibitions across Australasia, Europe, Asia, and the USA, engaging over 15,000+ participants in her site-specific works. Most recently Karma's work has been exhibited at the MACRO ASILO Museum of Contemporary Art Rome, Rome, Italy and the New Mexico State University Museum, New Mexico, USA.


Karma is the co-founder of The Imagine The Land Project (2009-2019) an international collaboration with Italian/Croatian artist Ekarasa Doblanovic addressing critical relationships at the intersection of people and the land within the context of localized and global environments. The project produced large-scale site-specific installations from soil pigments and minerals gathered from pre-disturbed sites to inquire into the collective ontologies of the land.

Karma is an ambassador for the Terzo Paradiso Rebirth-day Project - an international arts collaboration with the founder of the Arte Povera movement Michelangelo Pistoletto. Under the project Karma's work has been presented in Azerbaijan, Cuba and Italy and most notably at the Louvre Museum, France as part of the Year 1: Earthly Paradise exhibition. In 2019 Karma attended the Terzo Paradiso Panel for the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the MACRO Asilo in Rome. Through her soil and pigment research Karma has collaborated with Vandana Shiva and the Bhoomi Living Soil Project at the Navdanya Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology, New Delhi, India.

Karma's work investigates the ways in which individuals are shaped and influenced by their relationships, particularly at the junctures of nature and culture. This exploration is motivated by her profound interest in the perpetual cycles of life and death, as well as creation and destruction. Additionally, Karma seeks to understand how our internal and external experiences, along with various elements and the transient nature of existence, contribute to our personal understandings and transformation.


Karma is a professionally registered ANZACATA Art Therapist, project director and community arts facilitator. She has extensive experience working with a diverse range of populations including youth, women’s groups, Indigenous and cultural groups and communities with special needs in a range of settings including mental health, arts-based community recovery and arts-based mentoring. Karma has worked with peek community social and health organisations throughout the Northern Rivers bridging the personal, social and ecological. She has been directing the award-winning <In.scribe> Youth Arts Mentoring Project since 2013. The project has produced public artworks across the Northern Rivers as well as with NGO's and communities in the Northern Territory, Timor Leste and India.





K  A  R  M  A    B  A  R  N  E  S


MA Creative ECAP, Grad.Cert ECAP, BA Art & Creativity.

Professional Registration ANZACATA



Image: Yaka Adamic

Artist Statement 2024

As a conceptual interdisciplinary artist, my practice encompasses installation, painting, sculpture, and participatory engagements. I aim to provoke introspection and dialogue regarding the intersubjective nature of change through gallery-based installations and site-specifc projects. Employing multi-media elements, I create immersive experiences exploring themes of materiality, impermanence, and our relationship with the natural world.

In my practice, I utilise a variety of mediums and techniques, ranging from sculptural forms to multiple components, suspended arrangements of large-scale paintings, impermanent site-specifc installations, and fabricated forms.

Utilising pure pigments and organic earth materials, I infuse my works with tactile qualities, emphasising the interaction of colour with space. Themes such as hope, compassion, and Earth's elemental cycles drive my exploration, inviting viewers to actively engage with disrupted environments and collective understandings of land ontology.

Through contemplation and research, particularly in times of adversity, I delve into human experience, time perception, and geological processes. My art serves as a conduit for existential inquiry, encouraging refection on interconnectedness and personal transformation. Drawing from philosophies of impermanence and interconnectedness, I invite viewers to explore their inner landscape amidst transient existence.

Collaboration is integral to my methodology, emphasising the cultivation of social cohesion and shared signifcance within communities. Themes of social impact, community resilience, and human ecology theory underpin my practice, which engages with contemporary challenges through collaborative endeavours and public initiatives. By fostering substantive discourse on humanity's adaptation to the shifting natural world, I aim to instigate resilience and facilitate transformative processes in confronting adversity.

Yaka Adamic cred.JPG
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