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What’s on in the Canberra arts scene, May 19, 2018

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Botanical art

Ive always been fascinated by botanical art, such intricacy and detail capturing something that so many of us take for granted. It might also have something to do with growing up with the books of May Gibbs. I still cant but help think of gumnut babies every time I see those little green caps scattered across the ground under the trees. Her illustrations were art in their own right.

Margaret Muffet, Clianthus formosus, part of the Flora of Australian exhibition.

Photo: Supplied

Which is why Ill be getting along to see Flora of Australia, which opens at the Ainslie Arts Centre on May 18. The Canberra exhibition is part of a worldwide exhibition which aims to promote an appreciation and understanding of our precious plant diversity.

Exhibitions will be held concurrently around the world, 23 countries on six continents will also display their native flora, and you can connect with these in Canberra via a digital slide show showing 40 of the best works from each of the participating countries.

Nine Canberra artists feature in the Australian exhibition: Nilavan Adams, Wendy Antoniak, Cornelia Buchen-Osmond, Helen Cohen, Helen Fitzgerald, Sue Grieves, Cheryl Hodges, Morgyn Phillips and Halina Steele.

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During the exhibition, being organised by the Botanical Art Society of Australia, many other activities relating to plant diversity and botanical art will be held including floor art tours and workshops. For more details head to botanicalartworldwide.info

At the Ainslie Arts Centre, until May 27.

Days like this …

Greg Daly, one of Australias leading ceramicists, specialises in rich glaze effects that explore the way natural light plays on the countryside throughout the passage of a day.

Greg Daly, A Day of Turbulence, 2018.

Photo: Supplied

One of the most satisfying characteristics of lustreware is its ability to respond to and reflect light and Daly uses his ceramics to capture this.

The Australian landscape is a constant in his art, particularly the countryside around Cowra in the central west of New South Wales and its rich and fluid surfaces.

“The first and last light of the day, light through cloud, light behind cloud, light diffused by rain and storm, the moment just after sunset when the land glows for a short while,” he has written. “These are the moments I look for and it is in the nature of lustre to capture these”.

Days Like This … on exhibition at the Nancy Sever Gallery until June 17.

Documentary screening

From Under the Rubble is a new documentary feature about a peaceful, close-knit family of farmers in Gaza – the Samounis – 48 members of whom were killed when they were herded into a house by the Israeli Defence Force and then fired upon, as part of Israels battle with Hamas in January 2009.

The film is narrated in a raw, intimate, unflinching way, largely by Amal Samouni, who was nine years old when the house she was sheltered in was bombed. Amal was buried under rubble for four days, surrounded by the dead and rotting bodies of family members, until aid workers were finally permitted to enter the area and rescue her. With this film, Australian writer, producer and director Anne Tsoulis has set out to give voice to the civilian perspective on war, and call attention to the fact that the overwhelming majority of those killed and injured in conflict zones are women and children.

On Tuesday May 22 therell be a screening at Parliament House where Tsoulis will speak about the film. It also screens for the general public at the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra on Friday May 25.

Coast trip

Quick, get in the car now for The River of Art festival which lights up the far south coast for a few days. From Durras to Bermagui, youll find exhibitions, workshops, music, dance, theatre, busking and more.

Mark Kenny, bowl, part of the Splinters woodworking exhibition at the River of Art festival on the south coast.

Photo: Supplied

Therell be three festival hubs, the Eurobodalla Botanic Garden just south of Batemans Bay, the Air Raid Tavern in Moruya, and Club Narooma.

One exhibition not to miss is the Splinters exhibition in Moruya, where woodworkers will exhibit a range of skills and techniques, from marquetry to handcrafted timber surfboards.

For more information head to riverofart.com.au

Life support

Safe Operating Space showcases the work of Canberra-based artist Amy Dunn. In this exhibition, Dunn presents a series of new works, laser-etched and painted on perspex, of the figure in landscape, while also including her photographic works and drawings. These works address human pressures on the environment and the increasing urgency to define a sustainable relationship with the Earth: our life support system.

Amy Dunn, Untitled, 2017, laser etch on black plastic with acrylic paint.

Photo: Supplied

This exhibition breaks down this relationship to comment on how fleetingly we inhabit the natural world. They are the result of her exploration into how to amalgamate images which communicate the photographic and the painterly simultaneously.

Opening at ANCA on May 23, until June 10.

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Karen Hardy

Karen Hardy is a reporter at The Canberra Times.

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