Tropical Rainforest Plants - 'Gondwana's Garden' Online Exhibition

Tropical rainforest plants of Australia, unique in the world, feature strongly in a recent group exhibition, Gondwana's Garden, held at Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns, North Queensland.

The small Port Douglas Artists group of professional artists invited a variety of artists from the region, whose work met quite strict criteria, to join them in developing works for the exhibition.

They aimed to establish a balance of two and three dimensional works which explored tropical gardens, especially those that had  descended from ancient plants from Gondwanaland.

A Selection of 'Gondwana's Garden' Artworks

It was difficult to select just two or three images from each artist, but I have tried to represent each. If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces or wish to contact each artist about another matter, please use the form at the bottom of this page.

Claire Souter

Brightly coloured fruits of the rainforest by Claire SouterFruits of the Rainforest
Fruits of the Rainforest series by Claire SouterFruits of the Rainforest 2 - oil on canvas

These delicate little, realistic, oil paintings by Claire Souter showcase beautiful brightly coloured fruits of the rainforest, which contrast with the greenery of their backgrounds.

Mollie Bosworth

Porcelain forms by Mollie BosworthGondwana's Garden Porcelain Forms

"My mother was an avid researcher and collector of many plants, including ferns, and when I recently came across her pressed fern collection, it was an ideal starting point for the Gondwana's Garden exhibition.

Investigating the heritage of Gondwana, I chose to feature some of the plant groups surviving for more than 200 million years ago, that have close living relatives in North Queensland...continued right

Yoshiko Kirby

Rainforest painting by Yoshiko KirbySilent Talk at Gondwana's Garden

"Life is the dynamic union with what is now and what will come.
Life’s sacred spirit, the invisible heartbeat that permeates all that is, never seeks to restrain us.....continued right

Joy Shand-Culley

Rainforest fibre form by Joy Shand-CulleyEbb and Flow

My intention, for this exhibition, was to design and execute artworks which represented the concept of “Gondwana Land”, from the super-continent, the tension as it breaks apart, then through movement, toward the richness or nature as a fully-functioning microcosm.

Anna Curtis

Lino print of Red Flowering Gum by Anna CurtisBlossom Burst

"A long held obsession with native flora, I chose the ubiquitous eucalyptus as subject for the Gondwana exhibition.

I love everything about the eucalyptus buds, flowers,  pods and leaves, the intricacy of all its parts and enjoy sharing with the viewer the beauty of this ancient plant.

Julie McEnerny

Julie Mc Enerny rainforest watercolour study of blechnumorientaleBlechnumorientale
Water colour study of Doryopterisconcolor by Julie McEnernyDoryopterisconcolor

"Gondwana's Garden exhibition opened my mind's eye to the very beginnings of our lush tropical gardens and their ancestry of ancient flora; of times before dinosaurs roamed primordial forests and eons before flowers and birdsong illuminated the planet.

Terry Johnson

Acrylic on canvas painting, 'Denizens of the Zephryr' by Terry JohnsonDenizens of the Zephyr

"My work was inspired by the Gondwanan patterns of distribution of living organisms. Each work is a story of long ago merged into the world of today.

The song birds and parrots of our world today had their origins in Gondwana. This work celebrates these magnificent creatures."

Ellen Terrell

Round stoneware plate, Fan Palm Tangle by Ellen Terrell.Fan Palm Tangle

Ellen employs the ancient and highly skilled method of silver and copper lustre decoration on her jewel-like ceramic bowls and plates as they undergo their third firing in her gas kiln. The results are exquisite collectors' items.

Marie Simberg-Hoglund

Marie Simberg-Hoglund, 'Two', abstract acrylic on canvas, bluesTwo
Marie Simberg-Hoglund, 'Three', abstract acrylic, reds and pinks.Three

Beat Urfer

Beat Urfer, 'Kaleidoscope', vitreous enamel, silver, acrylic.Kaleidoscope of Gondwana's Progenies

Sasi Victoire

Sasi Victoire, 'Smell Me', ink and watercolour on paperSmell Me
Sasi Victoire, 'Fragment of Wonderland', ink and watercolour on paper.Fragment of Wonderland

Judith Bohm-Parr

Judith Bohm-Parr, 'Glossoptries 1' fused glassGlossoptries 1
Judith Bohm-Parr, 'Glossoptries 2' fused glassGlossoptries 2

"Life is a continuous journey with a few stops in-between; for some metaphorically, for others literally. As an artist, I find that journeying in both spheres presents inspiration for my art. I am at present at “one of the stops, literally”, having relocated from 22 years in the tropics to beautiful Childers & our new home which we named Xanadoo. Mother Nature has been a defining rationale in my art for many years & I never tire of portraying the endless repertoire she presents on every journey. The stunning gardens of this new abode offer unlimited potential for portrayal in glass.

In his later years, Claude Monet found his muse in Givenchy. As a mature artist, I humbly follow in his esteemed footsteps visually & contextually, in my case using glass as the medium to portray changing light, colour & form. Age softens vision, giving a different perspective to everyday objects. My own use of the pate de verre technique acts as a filter that blurs, softens and renders the seemingly everyday with mystical & precious perspectives.

Jill Booth

Jill Booth, 'Coastal Glimpses', oil on canvasCoastal Glimpses - Kapok Bush

Lone White

Lone White, 'Rainforest Pot 5', stonewareRainforest Pot 5
Lone White, 'Rainforest Pot 1', stonewareRainforest Pot 1

I have played with clay and glazes for over 40 years and during most of that time I have lived in Cairns. A lot of my ceramic art works have been inspired by my surrounds -the reef and rainforest.

Gail Shaw

Gail Shaw, 'Seed Merchants and Sticky Beaks', watercolour on paperSeed Merchants and Sticky Beaks

"Cassowaries have no tongue.  Many seeds of rainforest fruit will only germinate after passing through the cassowary’s digestive track. Paradise Kingfishers incubate their eggs in termite nests in a fascinating example of symbiosis.  

Intriguing facts like these underpin the miracle of the gardens of Gondwanaland and it is the work of these extraordinary plant propagators - these “seed merchants” and “sticky beaks” of the forests that capture my imagination.

Working in the medium of transparent watercolour is always a challenge. But it is the vivid, light-reflecting colours and the wilfulness of water that has kept me inspired for the past twenty five years of my watercolour journey. 

Tania Heben

Tania Heben, 'Grand Design', oil on canvasGrand Design

Ola Hoglund

Ola Hoglund, 'Seed 1', blown glass vaseSeed 1
Ola Hoglund, 'Seed 2', blown glass vaseSeed 2

Leon Pericles

Leon Pericles, 'Treehouse', hand coloured etching on paperTreehouse

Other exhibitors were Mary Ann Runciman, Heather Koowatha, Glen Mackie and Daniel O'Shane. In all, there were in excess of one hundred artworks, beautifully displayed.

Our thanks to all those hard working artists and support people, including the Douglas Shire Regional Arts Development Fund Committee, Tanks Arts Centre and Douglas Shire staff for helping to make this exhibition such a successful event.

Tanks Curator, Chris Stannard's recent letter to us read, in part, "Congratulations on having organised something of both great meaning and, as an organising team, brought a level of generosity and commitment that made this project a joy to have been a part of."

So that's a nice note on which to end!

PS: 2018 Calendar

Well, the project didn't quite finish with the end of the exhibition.

Twelve artists decided to produce a beautiful 2018 calendar featuring their work. 

Intended as promotions and gifts for the artists to use it then turned into a highly successful fundraiser, meaning that we will be able to more easily fund future arts projects.

Gondwana's Garden Online Exhibition

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