Sharing the artist’s impression of The Big Punchbowl Reserve

It is always a special feeling when we have the opportunity to share a piece of our diverse and beautiful Island with new audiences in new places.

In collaboration with Bett Gallery Hobart, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy (TLC) was delighted to be part of the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, held at iconic Federation Square. The TLC launched ‘Poets and Painters – Celebrating The Big Punchbowl’ at the festival, a commemorative book showcasing art and poetry inspired by the TLC’s Big Punchbowl Reserve.

The Big Punchbowl is a 240 hectare property on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula, it protects a diversity of ecosystems and is home to some of Tasmania’s most threatened species. During the spring and summer months of 2016-17, nine poets and nine painters immersed themselves at the Big Punchbowl Reserve. In pairs, they witnessed nature then collaboratively crafted work. The results show the reserve interpreted through a new and original lens.

Guests mingled under the calming soundscape of this special reserve. They were joined by TLC’s CEO Jane Hutchinson, book co-editor/curator and celebrated Tasmanian, Pete Hay and project participants, poet Louise Oxley and painter Thornton Walker in a conversation about poetry, art and nature. It was a fascinating conversation, sure to be remembered by all in attendance.

Thornton Walker – Wallaby bones near Barney Wards lagoon with Basho – 2016-’17 oil on canvas 66.5x50cm

Louise and Thornton chatted about the process of their art, nature and the power of collaborations. Complete strangers prior to the project, it was easy to see the bond formed through their shared experience reflected in their work. “Nature can often give us a light bulb moment and our works were based on that,” said Thornton Walker.

Louise discussed how nature and poetry can often take us to places we don’t want to go, challenge our thoughts and perception of place and meaning. In the middle of the bustle of Melbourne’s CBD, attendees were transported to that special place on the east coast of Tasmania as Louise read ‘Bones at Barney Ward’s lagoon’ under the backdrop of Thornton’s art work.

Pete summed it up best when emphasising the power created by combining two complementary means of communication, “the flesh of celebration, that’s what art can do”.

What a celebration it has been with thousands of people experiencing the impressive results of this art and nature collaboration at recent Tasmanian exhibitions. It is Hobart audiences’ chance this weekend to be transported by this exciting collaboration as the Tasmanian Writers Festival hosts the Tasmanian launch of ‘Poets and Painters – Celebrating The Big Punchbowl.’

Join TLC’s James Hattam, book co-editor/curator Pete Hay, and project participants in a conversation exploring The Big Punchbowl and the stories it holds.

The Poets and Painters- Celebrating The Big Punchbowl exhibition is currently on at Bett Gallery, 369 Elizabeth St, North Hobart – 31 August – 18 September.