My husband, two kids and I piled into the car right on nap time, snacks packed and nursery rhymes on the stereo. The hour-and-a-bit trip from Perth to Ballardong boodja, York (the oldest inland town in Western Australia) went quickly, and we were greeted by the undulating fields of vivid yellow canola (note: not wildflowers!).
Driving straight down Avon Terrace, we found a park next to Gallery 152 and Botanicalia Café (the gift shop and cafe next door). I sat down with Jenny, the owner of both ventures, to chat about business and art - specifically the upcoming inaugural York Botanic Art Prize.
Jenny told me the impetus for creating the prize was to, "do something that brought people to York and showcased Western Australian flora"
"...unlike other botanical art prizes, we're not looking for scientific illustrations nor necessarily representative work - the only limitation being that work must directly relate to the theme of Western Australian flora and make reference to specific WA species. Artists whose work challenges traditional notions and conventions of botanical art, in a sense 'botanical art in the expanded field', are encouraged to enter."
Fast forward a month or so and I took another trip out to York to deliver brooches and calendars for the shop. In the gallery a team were quietly working, carefully unwrapping art and moving it around the compact space for hanging.
Hundreds of entries were received from across Australia, with 60 chosen for the exhibition. Professor Kingsley Dixon, Helen Turner, Gregory Pryor and Angela Stewart are this year's judges. However, during the exhibition visitors will have a chance to vote for their favourite work, with the People's Choice Award to be announced on 2 January 2021.
The artworks have been created using a range of methods - painting, jewellery design, digital, mixed media and sculpture. The exhibition forms a collection of fresh, interesting interpretations of Western Australian flora that will appeal to many.
Sponsored by the York branch of the Wildflower Society of Western Australia, the York Botanic Art Prize is a great reason to, as they say, 'wander out yonder'.
Also, if you are like me and a parent to young children, you'll be pleased (overjoyed, actually) to know that not far from Gallery 152 is the Pioneer Avon Park. It is a magnificent, relatively new nature playground with a flying fox, swings, musical garden and colourful maze. It has tons of sand, space and shade!
Congratulations Jenny, the York Wildflower Society and everyone involved with making this wonderful event happen. The York Botanic Art Prize exhibition is on until 3 January 2021. If you are planning a trip to see this exhibition please let me know by commenting below!