Wild Thing is a new exhibition coming to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney this August, featuring a diverse range of works from Australian and international artists, inspired by the wildlife of our Botanic Gardens. Wild Thing is brought to you by Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens.
Look around carefully on your next visit to one of the three Botanic Gardens – you may not be alone. In fact, it’s very likely you’ll be sharing the moment with one of the Gardens’ plethora of creatures, big and small.
The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah and Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan support an enormous amount of wildlife, providing valuable green space in an ever-growing urban environment. They are home to birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, spiders, frogs, fish and even a few crustaceans, which all have a relationship with our living collections of plants.
While each Garden is unique, they share an undeniable connection, good and bad, to their wildlife. “The Gardens’ natural areas are reliant on their wildlife for pollination, protection and seed dispersal. Without them, plants could not exist,” says Greg Bourke, Curator Manager of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden.
This August, we are shining a light on those relationships with the launch of our brand-new exhibition, Wild Thing. Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens has invited artists from around the world to create works based on the Gardens’ wildlife. Given species lists, the artists are showcasing their unique viewpoints using various mediums, including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and ceramics.
Renowned Australian photographer Leila Jeffreys, in association with the Olsen Gallery, is exhibiting a special work for the first time in Australia. And while her large-scale photographic portraits of birds have taken her around the world, and to international acclaim, with solo shows in New York, London and Hong Kong, at the heart of it all is a deep love and respect for birds. Her artwork, Scratch, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo features one of our Gardens’ most recognisable feathered friends.
Eggpicnic, the Sydney-based design duo of Christopher Macaluso and Camila De Gregorio are bird lovers devoted to wildlife conservation, and will be showcasing their colourful prints. Distinguished wildlife artist Peter Schouten AM is well known for his ground-breaking work with scientists in recreating the feathers of dinosaurs. He has work in The Smithsonian, the Australian Museum and even David Attenborough’s private collection. His paintings for Wild Thing include birds, an echidna and a blue-tongued skink.
Australia’s fauna has captured the fascination of artist Rachel Hollis. Her artwork of wallaroos, who live at the Australian Botanic Garden, reminds us of the breadth of our species. “The Garden is a wildlife haven, with almost 90 per cent kept as native grassland or woodland,” says Curator Manager John Siemon. “Visitors might bump into a range of reptiles, more than eight frog species, an echidna, lace monitor or our rare and endangered Cumberland Plain land snail (Meridolum corneovirens).”
Proceeds from all sales go to the talented artists and to Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens, the not-for-profit organisation that supports horticulture, conservation, scientific research and education programs within the Botanic Gardens.
Find out more about the Wild Thing Opening Celebration on Saturday 3 August and attend Wild Thing for free from 4 – 18 August at Lion Gate Lodge. The Food with Friends Café will be serving coffee, tea, homemade cakes, slices and an assortment of sandwiches, salads and poke bowls, from 11.00 am – 2.00 pm throughout the exhibition.
Follow Wild Thing on social media: #wildthingexhibition #RBGSydney @foundationandfriends @RBGsydney.
Top image: Sweet Galah by Anna Voytsekovich
As seen in the Winter 2019, Issue 121, Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens magazine.