Issue 4 - 4 May 2011 enews home

Artwork celebrates northern Australia’s unique nature

CDU Alice Springs campus

Mrs Darwin’s Birds 2010

By Leanne Coleman

Art lovers can take a journey through the unique natural and cultural history of northern Australia at a new exhibition at Charles Darwin University Art Gallery.

The Nature of Things features more than 140 works, including a selection of 24 works by Dr Carole Wilson, to inspire viewers to look more closely at the beauty and wonder of the natural world, at “small things forgotten” and to think about the nature of things.

Dr Wilson’s arrival in the Territory in 2009 coincided with the bicentennial celebrations marking the naturalist Charles Darwin’s birth: a time of reflection and debate worldwide on Darwin’s theories of evolution and natural selection.

Inspired by her two-year residency in the Top End at CDU’s School of Creative Arts and Humanities, Dr Wilson began a study of the natural world and discovered a new array of cultivated pleasures, ripe for germination in her art.

Fashioned from second-hand, cast-off materials and found objects, Dr Wilson’s works are enhanced by the careful cutting, stitching and sewing invested in their transformation as works of art. 

A highlight of the exhibition, entitled Mrs Darwin’s Birds, was created by stencilling and hand-cutting 30 birds from old contour maps discovered in an expanding file in a second-hand bookshop.

The Nature of Things will run until Friday, 10 June 2011.

The exhibition will also include more than 100 selected works drawn from the CDU Art Collection that capture other artists’ ideas and experiences of nature, gardens and the environment – both natural and cultural – of northern Australia.

For more information about the exhibition or the free public program visit: