Entwined: Plants and People explores our relationship with the botanical world through immersive projections that will soothe the senses and fascinating photography, historic illustrations and stories that provide insights into the state’s unique plant life.
With COVID-19 confining people to their homes and suburbs, interest in the plant world has never been stronger, so State Library has dug into its enormous collection of botanical illustrations and stories to captivate and inspire plant lovers of all ages.
“Queenslanders love plants; a walk in the botanical garden or a spot of weeding in a veggie patch can enliven our senses and connect us to the natural world,” said State Librarian and Chief Executive Vicki McDonald.
“Entwined: people and plants provides a chance to reflect on that relationship and how important it is to our very survival.
“Like so much of history, this exhibition highlights a collision of narratives. Banks’ Florilegium was an impressive achievement of Enlightenment Europe, but Captain Cook’s voyage set off a chain of events which led to the dispossession of Australia’s traditional owners.
“I invite you to pause, breathe, and reflect on the complexity and beauty of plants in our latest life-affirming exhibition.”
Learn the story behind Banks’ Florilegium, illustrations of plants collected on Cook’s voyage on the HMS Endeavour. Botanist Joseph Banks had engravers create 738 copperplates of the drawings, but they were not printed until more than 200 years after his death, in one of the biggest publishing projects in history.
Only one hundred copies were created, and one edition is held by State Library.
In the 1800s Australia was caught up in global Orchidilerium, otherwise known as orchid fever. The wealthy sent plant hunters all over the world in search of new varieties of orchids, eventually driving several species to the edge of extinction.
The exhibition also reveals how some Aboriginal women rubbed ash from the burnt bark of the Bat-wing Coral Tree on pale-skinned babies to stop welfare officials removing them from their families (pre-1970s).
- Man&Wah’s Quantum Metamorphosis: a visual and sonic meditation intertwining water, air, fire, earth and the ether. A re-imagining of botanical illustrations from the 15th–18th centuries.
- The rare Queensland Nineteenth Century Fern Album 1883-1884
- Traditional weaving, fibre art and contemporary fashion (eg bush fascinators made from spinifex and Bicornual baskets)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fishing tools (eg Wujal Wujal mullet spears) and rainforest shields made from plants
- Rare photos and items from environmental protests (eg Daintree blockade)
- Untold stories of female botanical illustrators
Gain free entry to Entwined: plants and people at SLQ Gallery level 2, State Library of Queensland from 12 June to 14 November, for more information visit State Library of Queensland’s website.Jump to next article