For nearly 1 / 4 of a century, Sydney’s Royal Botanic Backyard has celebrated botanic artwork in an annual artwork exhibition.
Botanical illustration depicts the leaves, seeds, flowers and roots of vegetation in microscopic element, and with botanical and scientific accuracy. Traditionally, these meticulous illustrations have helped scientists determine and catalogue species of vegetation. Immediately, botanical illustration is appreciated for its magnificence as a lot as for its scientific worth, one thing that has made it collectable as artworks.
This yr’s Botanica exhibition focuses on vegetation that heal. The exhibition takes its title from an historic Greek textual content that turned a reference for European and Western pharmacopeia. Many widespread medicines are derived from vegetation. Aspirin originates from willow tree bark extract, morphine from poppy seeds, and chemical substances present in foxglove leaves have been used to heal coronary heart points.
In Australia, bush vegetation have been used to deal with and remedy sicknesses for millennia, with leaves, seeds and roots utilized to the pores and skin or inhaled for his or her therapeutic advantages. Some vegetation, akin to eucalypts, are valued as anti-inflammatories, whereas others, such because the oil of the tea tree, for his or her antiseptic properties. The emu bush is an antibiotic, whereas the world’s richest supply of vitamin C – with 50 occasions the quantity of the vitamin present in oranges – is the Kakadu plum from the Northern Territory.
The 50-plus artists collaborating within the Botanica de Materia Medica exhibition spotlight the various vary of vegetation utilized in cultural therapeutic cures, from Indigenous bush drugs to conventional Chinese language and Indian Ayurvedic remedies.
The exhibition is being held at Lions Gate Lodge, a historic constructing tucked behind a stone wall on the fringe of the Botanic Backyard. The rooms of the lodge are small, with higher and decrease exhibition areas linked through a slender staircase. Every of the rooms overlooks the Backyard, making it each an intimate and applicable house for the exhibition.
The exhibition’s artists embody each rising and internationally recognised expertise and a variety of media and kinds. Angela Lober is a returning artist who has exhibited at Botanica for 20 years. She is skilled as each an expert panorama artist and a botanical illustrator, and her reveals embody ‘Tuckeroo’, ‘Tasmanian Alpine’ and ‘Tea Tree’. The work demonstrates the extraordinary consideration to element wanted in botanical artwork, with each bit taking between 100 and 200 hours to make.
Whereas a lot of the artwork within the exhibition options media and approaches historically related to botanical artwork, akin to watercolour, a number of the featured artists have taken a much less standard method.
Alissa Prepare dinner, who additionally co-curated the exhibition, is a first-time exhibitor who makes use of each pictures and embroidery in her work. Prepare dinner has a PhD in biochemistry however, impressed by the vegetation at Mount Annan’s botanic backyard, turned her hand to nature pictures. Through the pandemic, she took up embroidery and her paintings now combines the 2. The exhibited work contains the leaves and flowers of gum bushes overlaid with intricate and beautiful bead and needlework.
Different artists have chosen totally different media and topics. Peta West’s dramatic work options aid linoprints of banksia, water lily and waratah, whereas Debbie Bourke has used mosaics to adorn a teapot. Tanya Hoolihan highlights the medicinal vegetation utilized in cocktails, such because the anti-malarial quinine utilized in gin and tonic, in a collection of artworks.
Learn: Exhibition overview: Newell Harry: Esperanto, Murray Artwork Museum Albury
Entry to the exhibition is free, however the paintings is on the market, with the funds raised used to help the scientific works and infrastructure of the Backyard. Along with the exhibition, Botanica options various different actions akin to a Vegetation to Drugs stroll, a portray workshop led by scientist and illustrator and artist Anna Voytsekhovich and a mosaics demonstration by Debbie Bourke.
Botanica de Materia MedicaLion Gate Lodge, Royal Botanic Backyard, SydneyFree entry
Botanica de Materia Medica can be exhibited till 13 August 2023.