The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize returns to National Archives of Australia

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Explore a compelling display of science and art seen through the eyes of internationally celebrated artists at the 2022 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, now showing at National Archives of Australia in Canberra.

Simon Froude, Director-General National Archives of Australia says, ‘National Archives is delighted to be partnering with the South Australian Museum to present the Waterhouse. This contemporary exhibition is the only opportunity to view the artworks outside of South Australia.’

The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize was originally created to commemorate the birth of the South Australian Museum’s first curator, Frederick George Waterhouse. Over the years the competition has become a much-loved fixture on the arts calendar, allowing artists and audiences to explore natural science through a range of creative outlets.

Brian Oldman, Director of the South Australian Museum says, ‘Now in its 20th year, the exhibition attracts interest from many talented artists and is a chance to see incredible unique works such as this years’ winning work, Bioregional Rings (Central Coast) by artists Kyoko Hashimoto and Guy Keulemans.’

‘Artists of the winning work created a stunning sculptural piece, formed from a wide range of natural and found materials. These materials include wood, natural sponges and marine plastic washed up on the shore. Their work allows the diversity of media to speak for itself whilst illustrating the range of forms to be found in the contemporary world,’ said Mr Oldman.

The People’s Choice Dr Wendy Wickes Memoriam Prize was awarded to Australian artist Cathy Gray. Ms Gray’s winning work Endangered, is a detailed pen and ink mandala that depicts the fragile relationship between the arts and the natural world. The work took more than 400 hours to research and produce and illustrates the plight of Australia’s endemic plants, focusing on 758 critically endangered species.

Ms Gray reflected on why her piece resonated with visitors to the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize.

‘When we hear the number of critically endangered and endangered plant species it can seem quite abstract, but visualising them together in one place makes the loss seem much more tangible. It’s also a relatable loss, it’s not happening underground, it’s happening right in front of us – it’s the plants we may have in our neighbourhood and because of that I believe, unlike some environmental issues, people may be empowered to make a difference.’ Ms Gray added.

The winning and highly commended entrants to the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize will be on display at National Archives of Australia, Canberra until 13 November 2022. The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize is a travelling exhibition developed by the South Australian Museum.

Contact information

National Archives of Australia Media Team
Phone: 0417 247 157

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