Unlemon – A meandering tale of citrus



Date: From Saturday 17 October 2020 - 10 January 2021

Time: Wednesdays - Sundays, 10am - 4pm

Where: Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Schomburgk Pavilion, Adelaide Botanic Garden, North Terrace, Adelaide.

Cost: Free

Wander through a unique art exhibition by local artist, Alison Mitchell.

Housed in the last museum of its kind, where art and an intriguing permanent collection sit side by side, Alison explores citrus through her beautiful still life works.

Alison explains what inspired her collection:

"The unfurling lemon peel of a 17th Century Dutch Still Life painting is almost a cliché, lemons in studio still life paintings are a given - but as I painted lemons from a tree I had planted and espaliered, or from friend’s tree, or particular fruit I’d sought out, a broader story emerged," says Alison.

"A tale of voyages, of promiscuity, of conquest and dangerous diseases.

"A trajectory that begins in lush, ancient, Miocene rainforests and culminates in the hot dry deserts of inland Australia.

"As I painted through the seasonal growth, finger deep in Cadmium Yellow and Arylide Lemon, a story gently unfolded.

"My interest was first piqued by attending a Pr David Mabberley workshop here in the Adelaide Botanic Garden in 2018.  Amongst an avalanche of botanical knowledge, the plight of Citrus, threatened by a disease called Huanglongbing, imminent and dangerously close, but not yet in Australia, stood out.  It posed a real peril, not just to commercial citrus but to our everyday, backyard varieties – and it’s hard to imagine life without lemons.

"So began my meandering voyage of discovery , and at the heart was the painting of citrus, from life, again and again, filling my studio with a sublime citric aroma, overriding, for once, the waft of turpentine and linseed oil," said Alison.


A selection of works from the exhibition will be available for acquisition, and can be seen at hillsmithart.com.au.

Please contact the Hill Smith Art Advisory on +61 402 231 517 or hello@hillsmithart.com.au.


COVID-safe exhibition

COVID-19 safe measures will be in place inside the museum, including the ability for visitors to comfortably social distance (1.5m). 

Please remember to practise good hygiene, wash your hands regularly, and utilise the hand sanitiser available.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, please refrain from coming to the garden. 

For more information on the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see the latest news page on our website.