Arboreal Narratives

Arboreal Narratives
Arts Centre

​Arboreal Narratives

This exhibition honours trees and acknowledges their value across cultures through the work of two First Nation artists, Blak Douglas and Badger Bates, and 10 artists from the Tree Veneration Society.
Tree Veneration Society artists: Amanda Farquharson,  Hobart Hughes, Jean Bourke, Jude Fowler-Smith, Kassandra Bossell, Liz Perfect,  Louise Fowler-Smith, Miho Watanabe, Paula Broom, Rachel Carroll
The Tree Veneration Society is a contemporary eco-arts collective with a focus on trees, their ecosystems and human interactions with them.


Virtual Tour

Guest Artists

Badger Bates 

Badger Bates is a renowned Paakantj artist and master carver based in Broken Hill and Wilcannia. His work is in nationally renowned collections including the National Gallery of Australia and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.  Uncle Badger works in linoprint, wood, emu egg and stone carving, and metalwork, reflecting the motifs, landforms, animals, plants and stories of Paakantji land with his art as an extension of a living oral tradition. 
Blak Douglas

Born Adam Douglas Hill in Blacktown Western Sydney to a Dhungatti Aboriginal Father / Caucasian Mothe, Blak Douglas is trained in Graphic Design, illustration & photography and became self – practiced in painting. He won the 2017 Kilgour Prize, the 2021 STILL National Award and is the winner of the 2022 Archibald Prize. 

Tree Veneration Artists

(In alphabetical order)

Amanda Farquharson
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Amanda Farquharson works within a multi disciplinary practice including traditional & adapted techniques of weaving, twining, eco-dyeing, pigment pours, mixed media drawing and sculptural works with "found in terrain" resources and tree elements to create organic sculptural works and paintings. Amanda has drawn from natural elements to describe landscape and its histories in sculptures and works on paper. 
Hobart Hughes 
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Hobart's work spans performance, installation, poetry, sculpture, animation and film. His award-winning films, videos and animations have been screened in, amongst others, MOMA, Tate Modern and AGNSW.  Highlights of his Sculpture, Installation and Performance work include Chippendale World Art Prize, a solo show profiled in Berlin Art Week and many other solo shows over twenty-five years. 
Jean Bourke 
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Jean Bourke is a printmaker of lino prints, collagraphs, etchings and artist books. Inspiration comes from nature, her faith, her time living in Tanzania, in East Africa and her work as a Swahili interpreter. Bourke makes art to tell stories of our beautiful but broken world. 
Jude Fowler-Smith

Jude Fowler Smith is a visual artist living on Gadigal land in Sydney's eastern suburbs. She has never not loved trees hence that is what her work focuses on, the love and loss. She uses photography and mixed media in her works. Jude holds a BA in Visual Communications and an MA in Photography. 
Kassandra Bossell 
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Kassandra makes sculpture and installation for visual, community and performing arts. Her artwork focuses on human relationships within nature, processes of transformation, and interdependent connectivity. She has lectured and led workshops at universities, colleges and community events. 
Liz Perfect
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Liz Perfect finds the interactions, both visual and temporal, in the multilayered Australian landscape compelling.  When she draws, paints or etches, a developmental process takes place as this experience is transferred to paper and this makes her at one with the elements of change, decay and renewal.  
 Louise Fowler-Smith 

Louise Fowler-Smith is an eco-artist and writer who has been researching the 'Sacred Tree' for the past two decades and has found that the practice of venerating or honouring Trees has been able to protect Trees in some parts of the world. Fowler-Smith is the Founder and President of the Tree Veneration Society Inc. 
Miho Watanabe 

Miho Watanabe is an intercultural artist who has lived in Japan for half of her life and lived the other half in Australia. Her art practice focuses on Awareness of Between-ness, the name of a concept she uses to reference the space between a subject, a camera and the artist. Between-ness explores the real and the non-real, reconnecting her, as an Australian-Japanese artist, to her heritage and culture, as well as to Japanese aesthetics and philosophy. 
Paula Broom
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Through her work, British born, Sydney-based artist Paula Broom explores the intersection of art and ecology, examining interconnected issues around human and planetary health and the natural systems and species that coexist with us. 

Rachel Carroll

Rachel Carroll has been a practicing artist for over 20 years. An expressionist and an environmentalist painter, Rachel prefers to paint about locations that are surviving rather than focus on an area that is in demise. It has always been her focus to bring the "bush to the city", in the hope that others will connect with nature. 


Jungle Jam: Arboreal Narratives Forum

As part of Jungle Jam festivities, a conversation on the significance of trees across cultures with  a special focus on their essential place in Western Sydney was held at Bankstown Arts Centre's theatre led by Costa Georgiadis.



​Costa Georgiadis

Costa Georgiadis is Australia’s most famous landscape architect and TV presenter who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people – he knows how to bring out the best in both of them and takes great pleasure in bringing them together. His holistic approach is all about gardening, the soil, and the soul.

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​Louise Fowler-Smith

Louise Fowler-Smith is an eco-artist and writer who has been researching the ‘Sacred Tree’ for the past two decades and has found that the practice of venerating or honouring Trees has been able to protect Trees in some parts of the world. Fowler-Smith is the Founder and President of the Tree Veneration Society Inc. 

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​Dean Kelly

Dean Kelly is both a South Coast NSW Saltwater Yuin, Walbunja, Dhoorga Gurandgi cultural man through his father, and Western NSW Freshwater stone country cultural Wailwan, Nypampai Man through his mother. Kelly is a member of the Botany Bay Aboriginal Community and is also accepted as belonging to the La Perouse Aboriginal Community. As a Cultural Practitioner, his true passion and cultural obligation is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Aboriginal cultural heritage. 

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​My Le Thi

My Le Thi came to Australia in 1985 from Central Highlands Vietnam and is a local Bankstown artist . Thi practices mixed-media, installation, sound, and video arts. Her work speaks about human conditions using symbols to express the common humanity and determination to survive. Her work has been selected as one of the HSC case studies since 2004 and was included in major exhibitions in Australia, USA and many Asian and European countries.

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​Sebastian Pfautsch

Sebastian Pfautsch is an Associate Professor in Urban Planning and Management at Western Sydney University. He has a master in forest management and a PhD in tree physiology. In his current research program, he investigates the practicality and effectiveness of interventions that help cooling western Sydney. Sebastian's work features regularly in the media, which in 2021 led to more than 350 headlines in 21 countries, published in 5 languages and reached more than 1 billion people.



Exhibition Documentation by Tom Toby.