Top image from ourbrisbane.com - other images Sophie Munns
THis year I have been selected to carry out my proposed work "Homage to the Seed" in a year long artist-in-residence program at the Botanic Gardens in the city where I live. Through my art practice an increasing concern for the future of seeds and their critical role in the bio-diversity of the planet prompted me to connect with the broader community in the hope of more effectively championing something I felt, along with many others, was being forgotten, and even profoundly overlooked in the scheme of things.
A fortunate series of meetings with a number of wonderful people led me to the Seed lab at the Mt Coo-tha gardens site mid last year to take part in a most interesting project being carried out there with Jason Halford in the Lab working as part of a team in conjunction with the global Millennium Seedbank Project based at Kew Gardens in the UK. During dusty* volunteering sessions in the lab I learned a great deal from Jason's excellent stores of experience - in the field as well as Lab. Volunteers I talked to, such as Bettina Palmer, have contributed for years with considerable knowledge of the project to share as a result.
This more intimate and fascinating connection with the garden fostered the enthusiasm to later apply for the 2010 residency. To view work that came out of the association with the Seed Lab and read about Botanique refer to posts from Studio Archives documented last October, and earlier here.
Margot Mac Manus - in her role as Visitor Services Coordinator at the Gardens - has been keen to promote a productive cross-pollination between all who spend time on these grounds - visitors and staff alike. During the year the opportunity to get to know staff and volunteers who contribute so much to this excellent embodiment of plant biodiversity will be sought out as will informal exchanges with visitors and participation in workshops and events planned for the year.
You are welcome to email or leave a message if you wish to know about any of the proposed activities this year during this residency... especially if you would like to be notified in advance by joining a contact list.
dusty* - the seed lab is where seeds are processed when brought in from the field after collection by Jason Halford and Co. Since they may be coming from remote parts of Qld undergoing drought the pods and capsules are often quite dried out or simply very dusty...so that when prying seeds from these sometimes very tough pods one may find the work considerably harder than first imagined. This leads to contemplation of the landscapes where the seeds come from so often far away from city and lab...provoking interesting thoughts, connections and dialogue around this important conservation work. More on this project soon!