Date: Official opening on Sunday 4 June. Exhibition runs Monday to Friday until Friday 25 August
Time: Launch 2-4pm, regular opening hours 10am to 4pm
Where: Noel Lothian Hall, Adelaide Botanic Garden (see map)
Cost: $2 (free for the launch)
A travelling exhibition from award-winning children’s author and artist Jeannie Baker, inspired by a fascinating globetrotting bird migration, is headed to Adelaide Botanic Garden from Sunday 4 June.
Jeannie’s book, Circle, is a beautifully-illustrated story following the migration of the Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri) from Australia through Southeast Asia, to its Alaskan breeding grounds and then back to Australia.
The 11,000-kilometre return journey is the longest known unbroken migration of any animal in the world, and it inspired the book and subsequent exhibition, which feature tactile, exquisitely-detailed and textured collages Jeannie is famous for.
Jeannie made her own journeys across the globe to observe the Godwits during her research for Circle, in which she lamented the birds’ declining numbers.
“I travelled to the wild remote landscapes of Alaska and then to China and South Korea where it was alarming to see the rapid loss of mudflats the Godwits and other shorebirds depend on for food,” Jeannie says.
“Everything in nature is interdependent and connected, and the changes we make in one place can cause a chain reaction in other places, even at the opposite end of the world.
“The challenge we face is how to live our lives without destroying the places that are crucial to the shorebirds’ ancient, wondrous Circle of Life.”
Botanic Gardens of South Australia Director, Dr Lucy Sutherland, says the works in Jeannie’s Circle don’t just dazzle with their vivid detail, they compel us to help these incredible nationally-vulnerable birds.
“Circle is filled with stunning landscapes that range from Arctic icebergs, to tropical idyllic beaches, spanning thousands of kilometres of Pacific Ocean,” Dr Sutherland says.
“But Circle is also a story of populations of shorebirds in decline, a reminder of the importance of the world’s remaining wetlands and a call to action to preserve them.”
The official opening of Circle will take place in Adelaide Botanic Garden’s Noel Lothian Hall on Sunday 4 June from 2-4pm, with the public invited to attend.
Jeannie and Dr Sutherland will help launch the exhibition, followed by a book signing, tours of the Garden’s First Creek Wetland by the Friends of the Botanic Gardens’ Garden Guides, and children’s activities around bird flight and seed dispersal.
Circle runs until Friday 25 August, and is part of a national exhibition tour organised by Newcastle Museum. Interviews with Jeannie Baker are available upon request.