A Community Art Project for the New Museum

Article | Updated 3 months ago

Banksia woodlands in Perth region.
Image copyright WA Museum

The greater Perth region is one of only 35 designated biodiversity hotspots in the world and Perth is the only city in the world within a banksia woodland habitat. There are several different types of banksia woodlands, three of which have been listed as Threatened Ecological Communities and a further four listed as Priority Ecological Communities. They are home to more than 90 species of birds and sustain insects, frogs, snakes, skinks and many other native animals.  But this precious biodiversity is under threat as the woodland continues to be cleared for urban development.

The Life gallery will showcase the unique, diverse and interconnected life that has evolved in Western Australia over millions of years. It will have a participatory learning space called City Life. Here visitors can explore the plants and animals of the Perth urban ecosystem, gaining a greater appreciation for the abundance and value of biodiversity that lives so close to the city. They will be encouraged to observe, discover and learn ways to take action to conserve the environment for the future.

Jessica Brainard, New Museum Curator for the Life gallery, explains,

"Some have a perception that banksia woodlands are scrubby patches of little value and they are in the way of Perth's urban development. The banksia woodland mural project presents a fantastic opportunity to counter this view and to inspire the local community to discover the biological treasures — and to participate in the stewardship — of their local bushland."

As part of the community art project, a group of children and young people will spend time exploring banksia woodlands with Museum staff to learn about the plants and animals that live there. They will then work with an artist to apply what they learned in the field to create a mural that encourages others to learn about and care for banksia woodlands.

The New Museum Project is currently seeking proposals from qualified artists to run the community art program. You can find out more about the project and how to submit a proposal by heading to the Request for Proposal page.