Project Leader

Mark Temple, Western Sydney University




Myrtle rust impacts the flora and ecosystems across the east coast of Australia. Visual impact of the disease includes yellow spores on plant foliage, defoliation, death of plants and invasive with exotic plants. Through engagement with indigenous artists we will represent the impact of myrtle rust on native bush tucker and culturally sacred plants and landscapes, to increase awareness in both indigenous and non-indigenous communities. Indigenous cultures use spoken language, music and art to share knowledge. Through engagement and sharing of science data we aim to create beautiful art and music for education and community awareness.

Objectives and Impact

The objective is to commission and exhibit indigenous art and language to tell the story of the impacts of myrtle rust and raise the profile of the disease through various community outreach programs (Action Plan 2.1).

We will facilitate connections between myrtle rust experts and indigenous painters to represent and contrast infected and healthy plants. Indigenous language experts will explore common ground to describe and label these images. Engagement with indigenous musicians will make programme music to create a narrative describing the artworks.

The project will include exhibitions at the Calyx (Royal Botanic Garden Sydney) and at the Australian PlantBank (Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan). The production of programmatic music and a music video will accompany the artworks. Engagement with schools will produce further artwork for the exhibition. We will partner with Aboriginal education programs including, Community Greening and Youth Community Greening programs run by the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust to connect with diverse communities across NSW. Educational posters and online resources will be made available for the Foundation. These could be used in campaigns to decrease the spread, monitoring programs and could be used to help teach and empower indigenous communities.