The following watercolour/gouache/conte studies were produced during a month long residency at Cairns Botanical Gardens/Tanks Arts Centre during Nov-Dec 2014. The theme Tropica was appropriated from the title of a book on exotic plants in the Friend’s library at the gardens-it represented tropical plants and often used photographs of the local people wearing or holding plants in a manner reminiscent of early colonial anthropology and photography. My other research looked at the early plant hunters and botanical classification and I collected specimens from the gardens, went bird watching, completed drawings and took many photos-the small studies were completed back in the studio. While in Cairns I read Amitav Ghosh’s the The Glass Palace and the even better The Hungry Tide-this follows a few books on the history of the East India Company-it goes without saying my interest in colonial history and post-colonial writing has been an influence on my image making.
The folllowing studies were completed following a trip to the Gardens in 2012
On coming back to Melbourne I have developed this body of work further to include a series of images based on the evolution of the Paisley design-a shuttling motif and symbol. I also intend exploring tourism as a source of image making and discovered tourists in Cairns with selfie sticks and koalas.