Miriam Williamson is a Blue Mountains based sound and visual artist. Her work explores the themes: sense of place, familial ties and historical displacement. In addition to her practice Miriam is an experienced arts administrator and specialist in community based arts events. She is Director of The SLAB, an Artist Run Initiative in Hazelbrook NSW and Curator of The Altitude Project, a series of contemporary art events to be held across Blue Mountains heritage listed sites which share a history of invention, innovation, engineering and technology.
Seeds of Empire.
Borne by wind and bird, a colony of introduced plant species lies at the edge of the Academy’s Victorian ‘pleasure garden’. In contrast to the calm order of the pleasure garden, the ‘colony’ is an unruly space with species overrunning each other.
These species are representative of ‘New World’ genus, plant and seed migration throughout the British Empire in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Seeds from exotic species introduced into Australia became invasive over time, displacing the native flora. Within this colony are Silver Poplar (Populus alba), Buffalo Grass (Stenotaphrum secundatum), Arum Lily (Zantedeschia), Spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis) and Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), amongst others.
I was drawn away from the confined spaces of the Academy, into the Woodford Reserve, to the vertical lines and stark white trunks of the silver poplar grove. This led me to research colonial agriculture and the botanical collections of the Empire held at Kew Gardens (UK).
Seeds of Empire invites you to sit, listen and contemplate the colony. Among the day-to-day ambience of the site, a lament to the displaced can be heard amidst the poplar trees.