Local Talent Showcased in New Museum Exhibitions

ROADKILL RESURRECTION: Immortalising the victims of our roads and highways.
Photo by Gabi Sturman

Colourful art installations and creatively crafted sculptures are on display at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

By Leilani Waters

The Museum of Tropical Queensland has collaborated with various local artists to create colourful and imaginative pieces for their latest exhibitions Made from Scratch and Colour: Secret Language of the Reef.

The two exhibitions officially opened in the past two weeks and are part of the museums new initiative to represent the diversity of Tropical Queensland.

The exhibition Colour: Secret Language of the Reef, is a new interactive exhibition which explores life on the on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Gallery Reef Installation invited local artists to get involved in helping decorate the museum in honour of the latest exhibition.

Ms Tracy Kepper, has been involved in creating pieces to decorate all over the museum in honour of the ‘Colour: Secret Language of the Reef’ exhibition.

Who approached you to contribute pieces to the museum?
An email was sent to JCU Chicks with Sticks from Visitor Experience Officer, Museum of Tropical Queensland Viv Moran.  Viv invited all artists in the Townsville area to create and contribute individual pieces for the Colours of the Coral display.

What is the process to make the pieces?
The hardest part was deciding on what type of coral and or creatures to create, and where to stop. I think I redid my individual work about three times until I was happy with it. The main difficulty was creating the water as the background, once I worked that out the rest only took about two weeks to put together.  The octopuses, fish, shells, turtle, and of course the mermaid took between 30 minutes to 3 hours each to crochet in the Amigurumi style, these were made first, then arranged onto the background.

What pieces have you contributed to the exhibition?
The “Octopuses Garden”, “Community Group Piece” with Mirjam Maugham, Mikela Murray (JCU Chicks with Sticks), Judy Hunter and Sharyn How Lum (Fibres and Fabrics), and “Myne the Seagull”, who ended up in Sharyn How Lum’s “Turtle Hatching” work.  Also Jaqueline de Jong (JCU Chicks with Sticks) contributed the most amazing coral creations for the touch cushions.

Did you choose what you would create for the exhibition?
The design brief was anything to do with the Great Barrier Reef and how we ‘see’ the reef from an artist eye.  The individual artist could create their reef piece from any chosen medium.   It was interesting to see so many different interpretations of how we view the reef.  My favourite would have to be the big blue jellyfish made from palm tree seed frond and paper-mache created by Kith and Kin clients.

On the 21st of May, the museum also opened their ‘Made from Scratch’ exhibition, which displays the talented works of various artists who have created their individual pieces from scratch.

Gabi Sturman, a ceramic artist, contributed two installation artworks each made up of 7 – 10 individual pieces for the ‘Made from Scratch’ exhibition.

How did you get involved in the ‘Made from Scratch’ exhibition?
Viv Moran. I responded to an expression of interest for ‘Made from Scratch’ in the Umbrella Studios newsletter and Viv called me saying that she liked my work.

What is the process that goes into creating your works?
I initially start out with a basic intention, and the concept grows and strengthens with the artwork. I do like my work to have a positive environmental message about how precious our environment is. I sculpt my animals out of clay, and then I make a multi piece plaster mould from the original sculpture (called a ‘master’). I then cast copies of the master with porcelain or in the case of the ‘Roadkill resurrection’ piece, bone china made from the bones of native road kill. This piece was more difficult and complicated than usual, as not only did I have the technical difficulties of working with road kill bones (according to my literature research, this has not been done before) I also had to apply for a permit from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to collect native road kill, which was not the most simplest of tasks as my proposed project did not fall neatly into any category. Thankfully, the staff at EHP were very helpful, and made traversing the black hole of bureaucracy a lot easier.

ROADKILL RESURRECTION: Immortalising the victims of our roads and highways. Photo by Gabi Sturman

ROADKILL RESURRECTION: Immortalising the victims of our roads and highways.
Photo by Gabi Sturman

What do you find most inspiring about rainforests?
The diversity. We are spoilt with amazing flora and fauna such as the tree kangaroo, cassowary, luminous fungi, ancient trees such as the stockwellia tree and so many more – all very inspiring! I feel very fortunate to be living in such a special place.

How does it feel to have your work presented in the Museum of Tropical Queensland?
I feel very honoured to have my work exhibited at the Museum of Tropical Queensland. I haven’t exhibited in a museum before.

Where can people go to see more of your work?
People are welcome to see my work in my studio in Yungaburra – please see my website for more details at www.gabi.com.au

To donate to the Museum of Tropical Queensland, or to find out more visit their website here.