NatureArt Lab Press Release 2023
'Reflections on Nature Exhibition 2023 - Bringing Together A Creative Community'
The ‘Reflections on Nature’ artist-in-residence project was launched on social media in May 2020 just as the and within a few months attracted a membership of around 600 people with thousands of contributions. The creative reflections gathered represent a unique and contemplative perspective on the environment during a time when our world changed definitively.
Reflections on nature was born into an environment that had been ravaged by fire and drought. As the bush burned and the country dried out, a growing sense of anxiety and despair became palpable amongst many of us. Then, as we were once again able to fill our lungs with clean air, rumours of a microscopic invader started to filter through our news and social media feeds. Covid19 had begun. Locked in our homes, we needed an imaginative escape, a means to make sense of what was happening. We were looking for a way to create a sense of possibility and the promise of healing.
Reflections on Nature was born as a creative community of artists in residence, all of us refocusing to experience the everyday wonders of the environments we call home in new ways. Photographers, writers, artists, journalers, ecologists and naturalists joined forces and began to document the sights they were seeing all around us in ordinary, everyday moments.
We created a rich record of the world as we were experiencing it in uncertain and unprecedented times.
We set out to create a community at a time when we were in isolation and lockdown, to forge a sense of belonging and shared purpose around a common interest in nature and its intriguing and remarkable moments. The project team led by Julia Landford (Founding Director, NatureArt Lab) with expert contributors Rainer Rehwinkel, Dr Fiona Boxall, Rosemary Blemings, Sue Bond and Lynley Rees, spent over twelve months from May 2020 to April 2021 providing guidance for focused nature observations from the Canberra region and beyond.
Our themes ranged from Light and Colour, Textures and Revelations through to Wild Invertebrate Pollinators and more. While the moderators set topics and themes in order to prompt conversation, independent discussions developed amongst contributors and unexpected themes emerged. Knowledge and information was shared in equal measure as participants began to create productive relationships in this virtual world. Themes and threads ran through the site like quartz in bedrock, shedding light and creating flashes of insight and excitement.
Participating in Reflections on Nature demanded we slow down and start to look and observe in new ways. Never before has it been so important to reassess our place in the world as a global pandemic forces humanity to think differently about nature and our home on earth. Places we knew well became sources of wonder and delight, paths well trodden the way to discover wonderful new sights, sounds and smells. Escape was experienced by rediscovering familiar places and seeing them in a fresh, bright new light. The here and the now matter.
This remarkable collection of insightful connections with nature, will be on display alongside a portfolio of environmental and conservation organisations actively working in the Canberra region. The exhibition to be officially opened by Senator David Pocock, will also feature a series of talks by local environmentalists and workshops including nature journaling, nature writing, and children’s activities.