Very occasionally a bit of art news comes across my desk (okay, fine…it flicks up on facebook…whatever) that absolutely warms my heart. This is one of those things…
If you made it to Queensland Museum during the World Science Festival this year, you’d likely have seen a display of paintings by Brisbane artist Emma Lindsay. In case your memory needs a bit of jogging, it looked something like this:
Lindsay, whose art practice I’ve written about previously, documents the extinct and endangered of the animal kingdom via her precisely rendered works. Using realist painting as a vehicle for her research, she explores the concept of the natural history museum as a landscape for extinction, and questions the role humans have played in the global loss of biodiversity during this current Anthropocene. The artworks exhibited at Queensland Museum, collectively known as ‘Extinction flock (29 extinct Australian birds), was the culmination of this research and led to Lindsay receiving a practice-led PhD from RMIT in Melbourne earlier this year.
The ‘news’ bit of this story is that the University of Queensland Art Museum, holder of the state’s second largest art collection, has acquired the entire suite of works – a boon for both artist and institution. Works such as Lindsay’s hold significant cross-disciplinary potential, and allow UQAM to position themselves as a point of reference for studies into environmental, biological and earth sciences, as well as built environments, history and human society within the academic sphere. In a country that is endlessly apathetic towards the arts, it’s vital that our art museums make themselves relevant by attracting audiences who might otherwise not take the time to visit the gallery space. By seizing the opportunity to weave art into every area of research and education possible, UQAM are doing just that.
And THAT is just another reason for us all to champion the arts.
Congratulations to everyone involved – Emma, the guys at UQAM and even my old mate Bruce Heiser, of Heiser Gallery where Emma is represented, who I dare say is smiling brighter than anyone right now 😉