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16 Jan 2018

Art inspired by science

When artist Olivia Spark visited the National Herbarium of NSW she found the inspiration needed to create a beautiful exhibition, Designing Bright Futures. Olivia's stunning, plant-inspired work won a highly commended award on opening night. The exhibition is on display at the Australian Design Centre until 31st January.

During her visit to the Herbarium, Olivia met with Manager Dr Shelley James to photograph specimens and learn about scientific collection and preservation techniques.

Three particular specimens caught her eye during that visit, each representing a local endangered species. Olivia photographed and researched Euphrasia arguta, Prostanthera marifolia and Callistemon megalongensis to create sterling silver jewellery objects that reference each plant's individuality in texture and form. 
Olivia has written this artistic statement to accompany her creations:

Endlings is an exploration into the declining Australian environment since European settlement 
which has contributed greatly to the increasing number of threatened native flora. Land clearing is undoubtedly the main cause of extinction and endangerment of native Australian flora which carries irreversible consequences to the biodiversity of ecological communities, causing habitats to become severely fragmented and damaged.

The installation is designed as a space of education and projection, to convey the real potential of the complete loss of critically endangered Australian flora that our society is inevitably heading towards if our negative behaviours and relationships to the environment are not recognised and changed. The three critically endangered species are contextualised as historical specimens within a museum setting, devoid of their environmental geography and separated from each plants entirety, becoming endlings.

Olivia Spark has a passion for the environment around her, particularly the uniqueness and diversity of native Australian flora. This inspires Olivia’s contemporary jewellery practice as she translates this passion into the design of distinctive metal pieces reminiscent of the individuality in nature.


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