Arts in Parks is a project that celebrates the 20 year partnership between Arts Tasmania and the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service. This partnership offers artists the opportunity to immerse themselves in some of the most stunning wilderness locations in Tasmania’s national parks through the Dombrovskis Parks and Wildlife Wilderness Residency program. Arts in Parks is a series of exhibitions that feature artworks that have been inspired by artists’ residencies over the past 20 years.
The artists featured in the exhibition in The Chapel on Maria Island span the history of the wilderness residency program. Christl Berg was one of the first artists to have a residency on the island with one of her artworks featured in the exhibition Stratagram actually created on the floor of the exhibition space during her residency. Fiona Fraser, resident on the island in 2009, was inspired by the island’s lunar cycle and the wildly different duality of the island’s daytime and night-time presence.
Serena Rosevear, Gwen Egg and Tanya Maxwell are the most recent artists to complete a residency on the island. Gwen and Tanya have experienced the residency program as a collaboration, staying both together and apart, and over different seasons throughout 2015 and 2016. Their experience is unique and the works they have in the exhibition speak of this shared experience. Serena Rosevear’s artwork in this exhibition One year and one day was created in response to her tracing the shared ‘footsteps’ of the island’s inhabitants and their ability to create with limited resources. Serena sourced clay from the island to make hundreds of hand-built vessels which she then fired in hand-dug fire pits on the island. Her work brings the exhibition to a full circle – from Christl Berg’s artwork made on the island nearly two decades ago, to one that was made on the island only days ago.
The Maria Island Chapel is within the World Heritage listed Darlington precinct, and is the most representative and intact example of a convict probation station anywhere in Australia. Located off Tasmania’s east coast and accessible only by ferry, Maria Island National Park not only protects this cultural treasure but is also a natural wildlife sanctuary conserving an array of endangered and endemic species. The island also offers excellent walking journeys along the peaceful beaches and dramatic coastlines.