Behind an unassuming facade in Angas Street, The Mill is one of Adelaide’s most vibrant and active creative hubs.
In a converted warehouse and shopfront, it features a gallery, performance space and studios with practitioners working across design, furniture and visual arts.
The heart of the CBD is an ideal location for Louise Flaherty, a visual artist drawing inspiration from local plants and flowers. Her long-term project ‘Memorial for Forgotten Plants’ is about seeking out the native flora of Adelaide and creating delicate botanic drawings in white ink on black paper. The memorial aspect of her project is a remembrance that many species are rare and extinct, with Flaherty saying, “It’s a sadness that you don’t see these natives every day. A lot of the trees in the CBD are imported species.”
During a residency at The Mill’s gallery in 2018, she worked in the public eye creating new imagery and inviting the audience to make their own drawings of selected plants. The residency gave her time to explore.
“There are about four different ecosystems in the CBD, with their own species,” she says. “You can find some in the park lands, like the chocolate lily which grows in the restored remnant grasslands in Victoria Park.”
Flaherty is excited about working with young people and introducing them to native flora. She is currently an artist-in-residence at the Women’s and Children’s hospital with a focus on plants specific to the North Adelaide region. She has taken two workshops in the hospital school, where patients, families and carers revelled in the focus of studying and drawing the plants. While the plants had to be laminated, Flaherty says the children still had “access to the world outside. Art workshops are a diversion from the hospital and focusses their mind on something different.”
Her next stop is a residency at Sauerbier House in Port Noarlunga, where Flaherty will collaborate with the City of Onkaparinga Sustainability Team to explore local plant-life. She will again invite the local community to interpret native species.
“It will be a celebration of plants and their survival,” she says. “My big thing is about listening and responding to community and not coming in with a preconceived idea. I am especially inspired by children’s drawings, the freshness of knowledge and unfiltered responses of the next generation.”
Saubier House Residency
April to June, exhibition Saturday, June 22 to Saturday, July 27
Guildhouse is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting South Australia visual artist, craftspeople and designers to develop and maintain sustainable careers.
The Adelaide Review is a media partner of Guildhouse.