Biotic Commune

Dates: February - June 2023

Exhibition catalogue available here

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In Biotic Commune, textile artist Kasia Tons imagines a hopeful future - the Symbiocene - where all living organisms are equal and exist by working collaboratively.

"The humans which exist within Biotic Commune don't fear the natural world, they don't control, tame or exploit," notes Kasia.

"They still make use of plants for food, shelter, clothing, and medicine but in line with the plant community, it is a regenerative process."

Her artworks are artefacts from this imagined world where humans survive only by reverting to the organic, compostable materials of their ancestors.

They include sneakers painstakingly stitched from dried banana skins, balaclavas sewn from citrus peel, and sleeping mats cushioned by bulrush seeds and waterproofed with linseed oil.

An exquisite, richly coloured embroidery - Symbiocene Blanket - captures Kasia's far-ranging research in the Garden and beyond.

Like many of her embroidered pieces, this is her way of processing the hurricane of information she encounters - a place to distil and blueprint ideas.

Biotic Commune is the outcome of the Guildhouse Collections Project at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Throughout 2022, Kasia spent time investigating the Museum of Economic Botany and the Living Collections, honing her focus on plants which have made significant contributions to nutrition, spirituality, work, shelter and medicine or that have demonstrated resilience and adaptability in the face of climate change.

On the little patch of Peramangk Country she calls home, where she lives off-grid and experiments with alternative ways of living, Kasia also learned from observing the gentle rhythms of the natural world.

A Ramsay Art award finalist at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2021, this is Kasia's most ambitious and technically challenging project to date.

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