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Donna Davis

When a Tree Falls

07 May — 19 June 2021

NorthSite Contemporary Arts Main Gallery & Void Gallery
Donna Davis, Displaced [TransPLANT IV], (Animation still), 2021, single channel video installation. Image courtesy of the artist

Anthropogenic disturbance is the reason for the current climate situation; as an artist I seek to understand the ecological complexity and explore our role as humans to alleviate and remedy the disorder?”
Donna Davis


This playful yet reflective exhibition speaks of climate-induced flora displacement, hidden ecological players, and the human; exploring imagined ecological adaptations, ecological hierarchies, and the idea of kin.

The works respond to current artist-residencies embedded within state and international science projects based in far North Queensland that explores the issue of rising temperatures from different perspectives. There is a long history of artists documenting scientific endeavors, however, this exhibition extends beyond documentation, using sculpture, stop-frame animation, digital media, and installation to explore interspecies relationships and perceived notions of hierarchy within ecological systems.

Both residencies examine the issue of climate change; the Tropical Mountain Plant Science project, led by the Australian Tropical Herbarium, is a result of consequence, undertaking a real-time rescue mission to save vulnerable mountain top flora from extinction with project partners cultivating the rescued plants in temperate zone Botanic Gardens, thousands of kilometers from their natural home. Whereas, the Wood, Termite, Fungi project, led by George Washington University, examines hidden players in the carbon cycle to model impacts of rising temperatures on the decomposition cycle.

The main theme that flows through the exhibition is ecological cause and effect through a multi-species lens, examining human and nonhuman hierarchal structures; ultimately seeking to empower a call to action to reconsider how we treat our kin, of all species.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


Art + Science Panel Discussion:

Can art inform, convey and reach an audience to make a change and take action?

Panelists: Artist Donna Davies, Professor Darren Crayn – Director, Australian Tropical Herbarium, Dr. Amy Zanne – George Washington University, Adjunct Associate Professor Lisa Chandler – University of Sunshine Coast and Chaired by Adam Stevens – ABC radio presenter

Produced by NorthSite, filmed and edited by Shiny Shiny Productions – Melania Jack & Patty Preece with assistance from Jade Schuck.


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from Alison Davies


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