Banksia Serrata Collection
Commissioned by Art Pharmacy for Deloitte Headquarters, Circular Quay
Memories of the coast, where the scrub meets the sea...
The banksia serrata is iconically recognisable, a unique flora marking the edge of the Eastern coastline. This plant has existed upon the traditional lands of the Bidjigal people for millions of years, dependant upon the fires of the bush for its regeneration. “Discovered” and named after Sir Joseph Banks in 1770, it carries with it a history of colonial trauma and environmental significance. Audiences will recognise the banksia serrata as a motif that appeared in Gibbs childhood books in the early 1900’s. The narratives of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, tell villainous tails of “wicked” and “strange” banksia men, markers of many Australian bedtime stories (Gibbs, 1918).
These narratives affirm the banksia, as symbolic of the “other,” reflecting upon our post-colonial relationship with native flora and the broader landscape. Hand-crafted in the temporal medium of clay before being fired into an enduring sculpture, my artwork represents the banksias qualities of simultaneous beauty and trauma. As an artist, I was interested in providing the audience with a space to reflect upon Australian narratives and our relationship to the natural environment. In this sense, the sculptures represent darker stories of the bush, which underpin our Australian culture. The banksia becomes a symbol of resilience within the landscape, existing in a space that is simultaneously familiar and strange.