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Deborah Wace at Impact Safari in takayna, Tasmania.

takayna Impact Safari x Bob Brown Foundation

Impact Safari is a unique and intimate leadership journey for those looking for transformational experiences in some of the world’s most hidden and powerful places. Earlier this year, Impact Safari travelled through the takayna/Tarkine on a trip spanning 6 days to highlight this precious temperate rainforest which is under threat. Special guests included Bob Brown and other changemakers, and Deborah Wace who showcased her work as a botanical artist bringing wild Tasmania into luxury designer products.

 

The rare and valuable takayna is unique for its intact ecology and biodiversity over a large expanse of 495,000 hectares located in North West Tasmania, making it the second largest temperate rainforest in the world. This safari was a time for participants to ‘get uncomfortable’ in the elements, meet with Aboriginal palawa custodians, and see how takayna is a truly cultural landscape.

 

Impact Safaris open participants’ eyes to their individual changemaking capacity within society, and their ability to influence for the good of the planet – reframing how they can engage to inform change.

Deborah Wace in takayna

Hosted at Corinna Wilderness Village in February, in partnership with the Bob Brown Foundation and Patagonia, Deborah gave her presentation in a picnic shelter amongst the cabins. Almost relocating her studio, along with her portable printing press, Deborah demonstrated the core of her botanical arts process. Deborah held a printmaking workshop and spoke of her Churchill Fellowship, sang, and showed film clips from The Sartorial Naturalist.

 

In an atmosphere of trust and authenticity, she communicated the subversive nature of art and music which can give agency to ecologies which have no voice of their own. Through all this, there is the sense of urgency that any exploitation of the takayna, by the encroaching logging and mining, places in peril its future protection under the World Heritage Scheme. takayna needs to be managed respectfully to protect this environment from damaging activities, whether those are recreational or industrial.

 

takayna has long been a focal point for artists and creatives who come to draw inspiration, and in turn, do what they can to speak for its preservation. Centred in the rainforest was ‘Tarkine in Motion,’ Australia’s biggest environmental arts project [1] which took place over five years from 2015, involving hundreds of artists and creators. The Bob Brown Foundation also hosts ‘Art for takayna’ field trips for videographers, writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, printmakers and photographers to operate on-site from multiple base camps.

Tasmania’s North West wilderness landscape

Despite not having a defined boundary, the takayna region is generally agreed to be located in an area bordered by Arthur River to the north, the Pieman River to the south and the Murchison Highway to the east.

Julius River Forest Reserve in takayna/Tarkine rainforest, Tasmania, Australia.
Julius River Forest Reserve, takayna, Tasmania. (Image: CC0 1.0 public domain.)

The landscape is home to a multitude of Aboriginal Heritage sites – with more and more being formally recognised – accompanied by remains of palawa cultural living sites and stone tools. This heritage lives on, with the ongoing significance of the sites for present and future palawa generations.

 

Nestled within takayna on the edge of the Arthur-Pieman Conservation area is Corinna, featuring remains from the days when it was founded as a goldmining town in 1894. The nearby Pieman River is also a historical ferry route for Huon Pine timber logged from the area.

 

takayna hosts diverse plant and animal life, sharing some of its Gondwanan fungi and other flora with other extreme environs such as South America and New Zealand. This swathe of land lies in the path of the ‘Roaring Forties’ winds which sweep latitudes between 40 and 50 degrees, blowing forcefully at up to 200 kilometres per hour. The Roaring Forties bring rain throughout all seasons, with consistent moisture being a key factor shaping takayna ecology.

 

Biosecurity aspects are also being examined to help preserve these natural assets. The Tarkine Fungi Survey reported that, ‘If fungal diversity is to be maintained it is imperative that threats such as fungal weeds, forest fragmentation, wildfire and pathogens be managed.’ [2]

Forest to wallhanging

The gathering of people facilitated by this Impact Safari has made a lasting impact. One token of this is that a wallhanging from the Deborah WACE Orchid Vase series is now being featured in the Small Giants ‘White House’ in Melbourne, where Impact Safaris headquarters are based.

Silk wallhanging featuring Greenhood Orchid.
Lavish silk Deborah WACE wallhanging. Design features Greenhood orchid, Pterostylis, which grows in takayna.

Movers & shakers

Special thanks to Danny Almagor OAM, Small Giants Co-founder and Executive Chair, for responding deeply to Deborah’s work. Time and again, Deborah’s botanical art is being represented on the larger stage.

Thanks also to these individuals, for their incredible enthusiasm and generous follow-up as Deborah Wace leaps into the international domain.

 

Bob Brown

 

Simon Harris – Bob Brown Foundation

 

Eleanor Gammell – Small Giants, Impact Safari Programs Curator; Art Gallery of NSW, Atelier Council Member

 

Naomi Kumar – Small Giants, Front of House Coordinator

 

Jodi Auster – Art Gallery Victoria board

 

Damon Gameau – filmmaker including ‘That Sugar’ film

 

Melissa Gilbert – UnitePlayPerform, Founder

 

Elisa Kang – for connecting Deborah with seaweed scientists and Singapore Fashion Council

 

Simone Vinall – Bettison & James Foundation advisory committee

 

Jane Dunsford – ceramicist for marine & small animal habitats

 

Bring one of Deborah’s botanical art statement wallpapers into your own home or business space to embody the power of endemic and endangered flora. You can also register your interest as a participant for the next takayna Impact Safari.

 

 


[1] Tasmanian Arts Guide, ‘Tarkine in Motion: A Retrospective’.

https://tasmanianartsguide.com.au/whats-on/exhibitions/tarkine-in-motion-a-retrospective/ [10 April 2023]

[2] Sarah Lloyd and Joy MacDonald, ‘Tarkine Fungi Survey: Corinna, Philosopher Falls & McGowan’s Falls’ (Cradle Coast Authority, June 2010), p.13.

https://issuu.com/cradlecoast01/docs/report_tarkine_fungi_survey_lloyd_a [10 April 2023]

 

 

 

 

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