SOPHIE MUNNS: HOMAGE TO THE SEED
Homage to the Seed is the title of a year-long project conducted at Brisbane Botanic Gardens as 2010 Artist-in-Residence. This project was born of a collaboration with the on-site ‘Seeds for Life’ Seed Lab (set up by Kew Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank Project) with the underlying objective of spurring on public awareness of the critical role of seeds and the human impact on global plant heritage. The seed lab was central to the project – a site of research, crucial dialogue with staff and volunteers, journal and weblog documentation.
To bring this somewhat obscure work to the public’s eye a strong accent on relational aesthetics practice was facilitated through a series of events which supported the key undertaking ‘to champion the seed’ to audiences unfamiliar with the extraordinary diversity and particular vulnerabilities of the world’s seed heritage . In electing to pursue this multi-layered approach to the ‘dispersal’ of information the material provided covered all bases… from simple to complex …encouraging both casual and formal engagement. The weblog further boosted public engagement by traversing a broad spectrum of ideas around seeds, people, conservation, biodiversity, science and art.
The fact that the project coincided with the 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity was an added catalyst which has drawn a new audience to consider our region’s plant biodiversity, local indigenous plants, and the vital relationships between the population, economy, land and plants. Whilst researching the abundant species of Queensland rainforest fruits early this year the journal sketches and notations of cross-sections of the fruit’s seed capsules became the visual means for the artist to represent this manifest regional plant variation. Simultaneously literal and symbolic, they seemingly refer to ancient and perrennial symbolic languages across culture and time, yet allow for a contemporary imagining on biological diversity. This deliberation on biodiversity through time – past, present and future – and humanities’ place in all of that is the concern of the artist in this year of the Homage to the Seed residency.
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