My work will be printed on linen and there will be two pieces, both 1.4 x 2m. The work was inspired by a couple of fun kayaking trips through the Mangroves at Barwon Heads in Victoria with all the artists in 2019 and 2020. Despite getting pretty wet in my leaky kid-size kayak on my first trip I went back for more. On the next trip in a grown-up sized kayak I managed to take lots of photos which helped me decide how I wanted to represent what I’d seen. It’s such a unique ecosystem down there in the Mangroves. I had no idea the Barwon Heads Mangroves were there until I became involved in this project. In my early twenties I spent some time on Lizard Island in far north Queensland and also on the mainland and was fascinated by these murky mysterious landscapes that came and went with the tide. I’d always associated Mangroves with a tropical climate so it was exciting to find that we had our own cold climate Mangroves very close to home.
I was drawn to the various textures and layers from the water, up through the muddy root systems that almost reached the low lying branches of the large Mangrove trees. There were beautiful light spaces filtering through the branches often creating silhouettes and bands of horizontal colours in the distance representing the sky and banks of green brackish friendly plants. The contrast of the solid ancient Mangrove trunks against the delicate leaf and flower silhouettes was striking. Looking into these landscapes was like exploring a new world, exciting!
I will also offer a workshop, ‘Printing Mangroves on Plywood’, during which participants will create their interpretation of our local mangroves after viewing the exhibition and applying their reactions to the works to plywood using patterns and textures.
An early childhood immersed in the Australian bush is one of the key inspirations for my biophilic art and design practice. I grew up at Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve west of Warrnambool and I attribute my upbringing as a major creative influence.
Endeavouring to capture the beauty of the natural world, my career began as an innovator of textiles and product design. My work now also focusses on creating nature-inspired design for interiors and urban spaces, while connecting people with nature. My literal interpretation of native plants, animals and landscape in a graphic form create symbols of nature.
I use a variety of techniques including pencil and ink drawings, screen printing and hand-cut paper stencils to develop ideas for more complex digital images often inspired by the Western District’s geographical landmarks, flora and fauna. By utilising natural elements, patterns and materials, my work creates a distinct sense of place and connectedness. I aim to build awareness of the beauty and fragility of our natural world so that we may recognise the dire importance of preserving it for the survival of humanity and all life on Earth.
Text edited by Zahidah Zeytoun Millie – Curator