Art joins science in CQ coal-v-bushland contest
Artists are to add their work to that of ecologists in the campaign to save a Nature Refuge in central western Queensland. Bimblebox Nature Refuge, near Alpha, will be destroyed if Clive Palmer’s China First coal project is allowed to develop its proposed open cut mine as planned.
Protected as a remnant of native vegetation in a vast area of cleared grazing land, the Nature Refuge has been the focus for a host of scientific studies in the past decade. Now more than a dozen notable artists from across Eastern Australia will use their talents to capture the nature of the bushland threatened by plans for a huge coal mine.
The artists, including Samara McIlroy, Alison Clouston and Jill Sampson, will spend ten days from September 8 camping and working at the nature refuge in the Desert Uplands bioregion. They will use a range of media, both traditional and contemporary, to make art inspired by Bimblebox.
Speaking for her colleagues, Ms Sampson said they aimed to document aspects of a very particular Australian landscape and habitat. “Our intention is to map the country and its inhabitants in our own unique ways,” she said. The resulting artworks, including installation, painting, digital storytelling and sound, will come together in a dynamic exhibition.
Ms Sampson said she was inspired by the way Bimblebox Nature Refuge represented an ark of life in this semi-arid environment. “These 8000 hectares of native bushland sustain complex ecosystems. The landscape and its habitats exist as they have for thousands of years. This long history will end if Waratah Coal is allowed to clear and mine the reserve,” she said.
Ms Sampson pointed out that art and science have long complemented each other. “Nature, art and science are all meant to enhance our lives, and this is what we’re seeing at Bimblebox,” she said. The Nature Refuge is a low-impact cattle property and the site of ongoing research in native ecology and sustainable grazing practices. “We will draw from historical texts, flora and fauna surveys, and studies of animal tracks and behaviour, to creatively map this area and its inhabitants. Through our art we will bear witness to this place, its past and its future,” Ms Sampson said.
Bimblebox Artists include: Boyd, Howard Joe Butler, Kaylene Butler, Alison Clouston, Dr Pamela CroftWarcon, Donna Davis, Emma Lindsay, Fiona MacDonald, Samara McIlroy, Liz Mahood, Glenda Orr, Jude Roberts, Jill Sampson, Gerald Soworka