" The artist represents those regions of nature which few can investigate: the riches of the earth, the order of the heavens, and the treasures of the deep" - John West, 1848
I have been reading John West's address to the crowd at the Mechanic's Institute Exhibition in Tasmania in 1848. He was arguing for the importance of art in the Colonies. His words really resonated with me. I love the importance he places on the imagination of the artist, a concept not often discussed at the time.
After lunch and photo booth magic Ian and I went to the Australian Museum (a natural history museum) to see the Birds of Paradise exhibition. I love taxidermy- particularly those in 'natural' postures - I have always found them strange and wonderful. It is such an odd morbid Victorian practice. Legend has it that on receiving specimens of birds of paradise, British naturalists believed these birds had come down from heaven. The bird's legs had been removed during the process of preservation. This, together with their incredible plumage, caused the naturalists to think these birds flew down from Heaven and had no need to land on Earth.
The ways these birds and their plumes were used by the local tribes of Papua New Guinea, by taxidermists, naturalists, botanical illustrators, traders and hat makers embodies West's sentiments. These people were true artists, taking inspiration from nature and transforming it with imagination.
Dress - Stella vintage in NYC
tights - tightsplease.com
boots - Nu and Nan
cardigan - Review
bag - Glebe markets