Every day, 10am to 4pm Saturday 29 July to Sunday 13 August
Launch of Exhibition 4 - 6 pm Friday 28 July
Plants used for treatment and healing are at the very heart of Botanic Art. This began with the scientific illustration of medicinal and culinary plants. Among the earliest recorded examples are the illustrations by a Greek physician Cretavas in the 1st century BC and the 5-volume medical manuscript, De Materia Medica, written between 50 and 70AD by Dioscorides. It was such an effective and easily understood means of recording and explaining medicinal herbals that the Materia persisted in use until the Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries.
Western style Botanical Art evolved with the great botanical expeditions of the 17th and 18th centuries and better printing techniques. More people could access books and art as domestic decoration became more popular portraits of plants came to be appreciated for their beauty as well as their scientific description. Botanical art in other styles such as the works of British Pre-Raphaelite artists and the lavish floral arrangements of the Dutch masters also became popular. Taking our cue from there, we, too, are now encouraging an evolution to show the art of the plant represented in a wider range of styles, compositions, media, and techniques.
The focus is medicinal plants; since the origin of much of our modern medicine lies in ancient and traditional potions, tinctures, and supplements, even some of the drinks and cocktails we enjoy. Healing remedies of other cultures and traditional medicines, such as Indigenous bush medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, and Indian Ayurvedic medicine are explored in this exhibition.