Unique trophies by local artist connect Ipswich Enviro Awards to the natural environment

Winners of the 2021 Ipswich Enviro Awards will be celebrating with incredible trophies handmade by Ipswich artist Donna Davis.

There is still time to nominate an Ipswich environment or sustainability champion for an award, with nominations closing on 31 July 2021.

For each trophy, Ms Davis used an endangered local native plant as her inspiration.

The works span a range of species, from the statuesque Flinders Plum to the delicate herb Plectranthus habrophyllus, through to the critically endangered Cooneana Olive shrub and the uniquely-scented Angle-stemmed Myrtle.

Ms Davis said local endangered flora such as these species held special significance for her since a residency at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in 2012.

The Ipswich Enviro Awards trophies are an extension of that passion for rare Ipswich plants.

“These are beautiful plants, but they are endangered. I like to showcase the intricate beauty of individual plant species while also highlighting the function and importance of plants within the biosphere in an effort to promote conservation and understanding,” she said.

Artist statement: Donna Davis

These works depict the intricate leaf structure of four endangered plant species; the coiled copper wire around nails embedded into circuit boards draw parallels between plants and batteries, referencing their ability to create energy through their leaves.

Plants are living powerhouses that ensure the health of our planet and in turn human well-being; human activities such as urbanisation, mining and logging, however, threaten plants survival, with an estimated one in every five plant species vulnerable to extinction.

So what would a world without plants look like? Will humans try to replicate plants or save them, and how will this decision change our world?

This work invites the viewer to consider the inherent ecological implications of species loss.

About 85 per cent of the Ipswich Enviro Awards trophies are made from reclaimed and repurposed materials.

“The timber used to construct the boxes that house each sculptural work were sourced from Reverse Garbage, an outlet that stocks a myriad of materials sourced from industry waste including building materials,” Ms Davis said.

“The handles are reclaimed or repurposed. The Perspex on the front was sourced from signwriting offcuts. The timber blocks that support each sculpture are from industry waste and offcuts, and if you look closely you can still see the marks and notches exactly as I picked them up.

“My works speak on environmental issues, so I try to use as many reclaimed materials as I can. Using recycled materials does add a layer of complexity in terms of working with dissimilar or oddly sized materials, for instance all the timbers had to be crafted to the same thickness in order to have uniform and sleek aesthetic for the final work.”

Environment and Sustainability Committee Chair Councillor Russell Milligan said the spectacular trophies created by Ms Davis were a perfect fit for the Ipswich Enviro Awards, especially given current celebrations for 25 years of Ipswich Enviroplan.

“Not only are these trophy artworks beautiful, they also convey the importance of conservation initiatives such as Ipswich Enviroplan to ensuring endangered species are not lost forever,” Cr Milligan said.

“Through Ipswich Enviroplan more than $11.9 million has been invested to purchase 5877 hectares of land for nature conservation, including areas vital to the preservation of the endangered species depicted in these trophy artworks.

“The ratepayer-supported Ipswich Enviroplan also enables best practice research and management of natural areas to support biodiversity, including flora and fauna mapping, pest and weed control and hazard reduction burns.

“By committing to Ipswich Enviroplan, Council and the community have taken positive action on a number of environmental fronts.

“We have 25 years of success to celebrate – but also look forward to many more years of continued improvement for our natural environment.”

Ms Davis’ work is also featured in a new exhibition Entwined: plants and people at the State Library of Queensland.

The exhibition features transformative works of award-winning creatives, documenting and re-interpreting plant life in modern Australia, as well as the State Library’s rare and beautiful botanical collections.

Nominate now here.

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