Retour à la Terre de Diemen
In 2005 I started research on a thesis about the early exploration of Tasmania by asking what would have happened if the French had settled here. Along the way my interest was piqued by information about the 1000’s of Australian plants collected by both the D’Entrecasteaux and Baudin expeditions which ended up in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and in the garden of the Empress Josephine at Malmaison. The last surviving letter of, Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière, the botanist on the Bruni d’Entrecasteaux expedition of 1792-94, was to the vice president of the Académie des Sciences in 1833 in which he, “…strongly urged the introduction to the south of France of five eucalypt species from Australia, including the mighty bluegum, Eucalyptus globulus…” (Duyker, Citizen Labillardiere). The investigation of Australian flora in French culture has informed my art practice during these past seven years but I thought it was now time to revisit my earlier focus on French exploration. However, instead of men in ships I have chosen to use the French Oak (Quercus robur) as a motif to represent those who might come exploring our island today. This is similar to the way that I have previously used Tasmanian flora to “explore” modern France.
All prints 30 x 18cm (18 x 30) image size – 50 x 25cm (25 x 50cm) paper size
First exhibited at Nolan Art Gallery
, Salamanca Art Centre, Hobart in September 2012
All images are the copyright of the artist