Playful new art exhibition takes deep dive into marine organisms

19 August 2022

A playful art installation inspired by marine organisms has opened today in Adelaide Botanic Garden within its historic on-site museum.

Local South Australian artist, Chris De Rosa, has created Seaweeding, a colourful and vibrant exhibition consisting of large scale papier-mâché sculptures and screen prints, etchings and digital prints based on sea plants, algae and spongia.

Chris explains how her work was inspired by her local environment, as well as a pioneering Port Elliot seaweed hunter.

“For as long as I can remember, I have collected strange and beautiful objects from the local shoreline. These forays into the ocean always elicit a sense of awe and wonder. I am endeavouring to bring some of that child-like awe into the museum,” said Chris.

“I have also been inspired by Jessie Hussey, a local woman who gathered thousands of marine plant and algae specimens in the late 1800s, which are now housed in the State Herbarium and other institutions across the world."

Her largely unheralded work was incredibly important to science, and I’m delighted that some of her century-old collections are on display within my exhibition,” continued Chris.

Chris was granted access to the State Herbarium's botanical collections, including Jessie Hussey’s findings, while researching her exhibition, which is part of the SALA festival.

The beautiful works in Seaweeding are accompanied by a moving image work to highlight Chris’s influences and concerns.

The video is a collaboration with film-maker Mickey Mason, sound composer Giuseppe Farone, costume maker Susi Benger and performer Honor Freeman.

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Director, Michael Harvey, said he was excited to see the exhibition in the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, which is the last of its kind in the world.

“We are in a terrestrial world here in the Botanic Garden so it is great to be able to give some attention to marine plants – which are a significant part of our Herbarium collection. What’s so exciting about this exhibition is that it explores these marine plants in an eye-catching and joyful way."

The various different mediums used, and the super-sized sculptures draw attention to the beauty and intrigue of diverse sea-dwelling organisms,” said Michael.

Seaweeding exhibition details

19 August 2022 – 29 January 2023

Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 4pm

Free entry

Santos Museum of Economic Botany (Map reference F9)

This exhibition is supported by Arts SA funding, Project Grant & Recovery Fund.

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