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Plant Notes exhibition

Date posted: 11 August 2021

Laura Wills and Louise Flaherty: Plant Notes
15 August – 31 October 2021

Guildhouse and the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium of South Australia are delighted to present Plant Notes, an intervention by South Australian artists Laura Wills and Louise Flaherty developed in response to The Collections Project.

South Australian artists Laura Wills and Louise Flaherty have been investigating the personal and environmental effects of losing vulnerable flora through research in the SA Seed Conservation Centre and Adelaide Botanic Garden, culminating in a collaborative intervention at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany.

The artists have delved into collection at the Museum of Economic Botany along with the Garden’s living collection, library and the seed collection archive during a period of vital field-work in the aftermath of Australia’s bushfires in early 2020.

Integral to the artists’ understanding and experience of the collection has been access to the caretakers and researchers of the collection; fieldtrips and robust conversation created a generous environment for meaningful, valuable research.

The result is a reflective and celebratory project that comments on destructive colonisation and the beauty of nature by looking closely at the plants and their relationships.

Plant Notes highlights human and plant relationships with a focus on vulnerable and threatened South Australian native plants. It is accompanied by an ephemeral art tour and sound work developed with Belinda Gehlert and Naomi Keyte, designed to be experienced within Adelaide Botanic Garden and encourage movement and thoughtfulness within the natural environment.

Artist Laura Wills reflects, “The Collections Project enabled us to not only meet the SA Seed Conservation Centre team, but interview them, join them on field trips and spend time absorbing their work to inform the artworks we created. It was a great insight into the world of native plants, their conservation status and how knowing them closer is the way to strengthen our relationship with them and their survival.”

Her collaborator Louise Flaherty adds, “Being able to meet and talk and share with the staff and volunteers has been inspirational. It confirms for me why I make the work that I do and drives me to continue to create this work. The Collections Project has been like planting a seed for future work of mine, this expense will continue to inspire the work that I make for many years to come."

The layered outcomes of this project are born of the crucible of this time of great challenge, global and local upheaval and desire for community connection. Flaherty and Wills’ Collections Project has seeded new connections, ideas and creative outcomes throughout its development, spanning new collaborations and exciting new directions. This has included ephemeral community projects with Vitalstatistix, Nature Festival and a digital music/visual experiential project supported by The Australia Council for the Arts.

Public Programs Manager at the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, Christine Schloithe, says: “Having access to the scientists at the SA Seed Conservation Centre, as well as its collections, gave Flaherty and Wills a deep window through which to view these life-giving seeds. Their delicate art works are presented through a lens of loss, but also of hope. It shows the important work of the Seed Conservation team, and how our own individual actions can have an impact on local flora.”

Guildhouse CEO Emma Fey adds, “The Guildhouse Collections Project is the result of true partnership and demonstrates the value of creating new and ambitious environments for artists, scientists, collections and audiences to coalesce. The work that Wills and Flaherty have created as a result, is sensitive and evocative, gently inviting audiences to spend time to consider lost plant species and their own role within the cultivation and colonisation of the South Australian flora and fauna eco-system.”

ARTIST TALKS AND WORKSHOPS

Plant Notes: Artist Workshop

Saturday 21 August, 10.30am – 12pm

Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Bookings: https://guildhouse.org.au/plant-notes-artist-workshops/

Plant Notes: Artist Talk & 2021 Call Out Information Session

Wednesday 25 August, 1pm

Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Bookings: https://guildhouse.org.au/plant-notes-artist-talk-2021-call-out-information-session/

Plant Notes – Artist Workshop (Botanica Lumina)

Thursday 16 September, 6pm

Schomburgk Pavilion, Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Bookings: https://www.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au/BotanicaLumina/Plant_Notes_Artist_Workshop

For media interviews, please contact:

Ayesha Aggarwal

Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Guildhouse

T 08 8410 1822 E communications@guildhouse.org.au,

Lizzy Ray

Media and Communications Coordinator, Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium

Department for Environment and Water

T 08 8222 9345 E lizzy.ray@sa.gov.au

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03 September 2021

Following the devastating 2020 bushfires on Kangaroo Island, scientists at the SA Seed Conservation Centre have visited the island a number of times to investigate what botanical treasures have regrown, and to collect seeds and plant specimens with a conservation aim.