Detail of Julie McEnerny’s Amorphophallus titanum part of the Offshoot exhibition now on display at the Grafton Regional Gallery.
Detail of Julie McEnerny’s Amorphophallus titanum part of the Offshoot exhibition now on display at the Grafton Regional Gallery.

ARTEFACTS: An Offshoot of Cairns Botanic Gardens

LOVERS of Offshoots: A Florilegium from Cairns Botanical Gardens is a vibrant exhibition of contemporary botanical illustration by Cairns artist Julie McEnerny. This beautiful display at Grafton Regional Gallery documents the extraordinary plant collection of the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

The Tanks Arts Centre, Tropical North Queensland's contemporary arts venue, selected the artworks in Offshoots from five consecutive artist in residencies it held. The residencies started in 2009 and as with all residencies its aim was building the capacity of artists in the region.

Julie McEnerny was given access to horticultural and traditional Indigenous knowledge of the native plants. She formed relationships with the Tanks and Botanic Gardens curators, and with the army of volunteer gardeners who collected specimens for her to illustrate.

Cairns Botanic Gardens are renowned for having one of the best exhibitions of tropical plants in Australia, with approximately 4000 species, including specimens from Northern Australian rainforests as well as notable species from Southeast Asia. The gardens date back to 1876 and are one of the most visited attractions in Far North Queensland.

The florilegium or collection showcases the plants in the garden that are ecologically or culturally significant. Julie began with 'Offshoots I: Aboriginal Plant Use Garden' - the first chapter of the Offshoots residency at Tanks Arts Centre and Cairns Botanic Gardens in 2009. Each subsequent year Julie produced a fresh chapter of the florilegium.

Offshoots: A Florilegium from Cairns Botanical Gardens is a collaborative partnership between Julie McEnerny, Tanks Arts Centre and Cairns Botanic Gardens, with the tour being managed by Museums & Galleries Queensland. The project is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts

Paintings drawings prints and mixed media were created over five years between 2009 and 2013 by the artist. She interpreted a collection of plants and developed her artistic practice through the residencies. The artist trained at the Julian Ashton School of Art in Sydney during the 1980s. When she moved to Cairns she co-owned a design studio, the Chalk Art Shop until 2008. She now works from her Cairns studio, exhibiting regularly and tutoring in botanical drawing with the Queensland Flying Arts Touring Program.

Clarence Valley Indigenous Art Award

Entries close for the 2015 CVIAA 4pm next Thursday, September 10. All Indigenous artists who reside in Gumbayngirr, Bundjalung or Yaegl are invited to enter one or two artworks of any medium.

The entry form and artworks are to be delivered to the Grafton Regional Gallery or one of the neighbouring regional galleries at Lismore, Murwillumbah, Coffs Harbour or Ballina. The $6000 award supports the Aboriginal arts and culture in our region and adds to the gallery's collection of Indigenous art. The CVIAA is made possible with the support of the Yulgilbar Foundation and the Clarence Valley Council.

Emily McDaniel, Assistant Curator Australian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, is travelling to Grafton to judge this major North Coast award. She will select the open acquisitive prize of $5000 and the $1000 encouragement award. The winners are announced at the opening of the CVIAA on October 16.

Lillipilli Art Exhibition

The annual Woolgoolga Lillipilli Art and Craft Exhibition opens at 6pm this Friday at the Woolgoolga Art Gallery. It is the 30th anniversary exhibition presented by the Woolgoolga Art Gallery, a community based gallery run by the local artists. Everyone is invited to the opening. The Lillipilli exhibition continues to October 5.

The Jacaranda Art Exhibition

The Grafton Art Club is busy organising the 47th Annual Jacaranda Art Exhibition being held from October 31 to November 7 as part of the Jacaranda Festival at the Grafton Community and Function Centre.

There is a Bendigo Bank Open Art Prize of $1000 and the Jacaranda Portrait Prize of $1000 along with many medium based and youth awards. Entry forms are available from the club centre at 365 Dobie Street Grafton or from their website.

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