Biodiversity and creativity in Tracing Gondwana


It’s imperative to contemporary art and life that exhibitions draw attention to our climate crisis—and artists are increasingly addressing the issue in innovative and impassioned ways, like Tracing Gondwana at Midland Junction Arts Centre.

Key to the show is a localised focus, as printmaker Nikki Green, one of three artists behind the exhibition, explains. There’s a specific emphasis on “building awareness of current issues in relation to climate change and the cultural and ecological significance of… the southwest of Western Australia”.

Tracing Gondwana has been created via a three-way collaboration between Green, fellow printmaker Monika Lukowska and poet Renee Pettitt-Schipp— all of whom draw on backgrounds in environmental art or ecopoetics. The result is a series of works that combine artforms, are consciously contemporary yet absorb the past, and pulse with ecological urgency.

As Green explains, “Tracing Gondwana is… a collection of works on paper weaving verse and image through traditional and contemporary printmaking processes—linoblock prints, collagraphs, lithography, digital prints, and an artist book installation.”

The textual element, courtesy of Pettitt-Schipp, is central in expressing the ideological heart of the show and, Green says, “drawing the viewer in for a more intimate experience with the work. Verse is interwoven into the structure of the work—with the literary rhythm acting as an expression of the dialogue between the mental and visual image.”

A poetic sensibility infuses the exhibition, bringing a heightened awareness to the ecology of the Great Southern region of Western Australia. “By evoking curiosity and wonder through our creative representations of local biodiversity,” says Green, “alongside fostering a deep understanding of the vulnerability of local ecosystems, we hope to foster greater environmental responsibility and active citizenship in the Western Australian public.”

Tracing Gondwana
Midland Junction Arts Centre
19 November—18 February 2023

This article was originally published in the November/December 2022 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Barnaby Smith