Bimblebox: art from a refuge under threat

Out in the PaddockBimblebox: art – science – nature, the current exhibition at the Flinders City Gallery, is all about beauty under threat.

Set up in 2000 as a nature refuge to protect flora and fauna from land clearance, Bimblebox – about 8,000 hectares of remnant bush in Central West Queensland – now faces a new hazard in the form of coal mining.

Exhibition curator Beth Jackson says that the remoteness of the Galilee Basin location has protected Bimblebox for many years.

“It’s typical, maybe quintessential, Australian landscape – open eucalypt forest, with ironbark trees, which are not so very tall but are hundreds of years old,” she said.

“There are lots of kangaroos, wallaroos, emus and lizards, and 153 species of birds that have been identified so far.”

Bimblebox has for several years been the site for studies in rehabilitation and sustainable farming involving the CSIRO.

Ms Jackson said artists have been comparative latecomers to Bimblebox, and the current collection of works were selected mainly from the two artists’ camps held on the property since 2012.

The owners are keen for the camps to blend art, science and nature, Ms Jackson said.

The politics of the current situation inevitably makes its presence felt in the exhibition, with some of the works responding to the threat posed by mining that has materialised through State Government offers to fund a 400 kilometre rail line to take the coal to the coast.

The proposal also raises broader questions about issues such as land use and food security, as well as the effects of mining on aquifer recharging and groundwater use.

“Ultimately, though, a lot of the artists have really just looked at the bush,” Ms Jackson said.

The range of media is broad, from traditional oil painting to multimedia works that incorporate video and soundscapes.

“I think there is something for everyone to relate to, and perhaps this exhibition provides a platform for people to have some sort of conversation that is less polarising,” Ms Jackson said.

Bimblebox: art – science – nature is on show at the Flinders City Gallery until February 6. Opening hours are 11am to 5pm on weekdays and noon to 4pm on weekends. The gallery is closed on public holidays. Admission is free.

Posted in
Corporate Engage News