Plant Museum is a visual examination of the colonial history of Australia’s botanical gardens. Botanical gardens are public green spaces that promote human connection to nature and allow visitors the escapist and immersive experience of coexisting alongside diverse plant life collected from all corners of the globe. Although wondrous, the garden’s colonial past is evident in its inclusion and maintenance of exotic plant life that are exhibited to the public, not dissimilar to a museum’s cabinet of curiosities. Historically both museums and botanical gardens emerged from imperialism and native flora was excluded from garden collections.
However, during the 1960s, Australian native plants were introduced and thereby instigated a significant and much-welcomed shift towards the decolonisation of the gardens. Kings Park, Western Australia is an example of a decolonised botanical garden. The photographic series Plant Museum captures plant portraits that document the changing political and cultural landscape of the Australian Botanical Gardens.
Carine Thévenau is a Mauritian / Australian Photographer, currently based in Sydney, Australia. Carine's work is expressed through portraiture of the individual, but also broader portraits of place, space and time, including the psychological space (sense of place). Carine's portraiture is explored through the female gaze, as she seeks to reveal the internal landscape of her subject, whether it is an individual, an object or a place. Carine understands the architecture, objects, materials and organic matter that surround us are embedded with social and cultural significance, inviting further interpretation and narrative exploration within an image.
Her portraits often document an intimate or domestic space, but also shared, public spaces, such as playgrounds and other urban spaces. Her practice considers the interrelationship between the natural world and the built environment. She understands this tension as exposing much about who we are, as a society. Carine's photography particularly celebrates the beauty of ageing materials, including materials marked with the residue of human interaction, as well as those affected by natural environmental decay. Carine champions these materials capabilities for reuse and repair, as their extended lifespan contributes to ecological sustainability.
Carine is passionate about the conservation of the natural environment and supports sustainable practices within the arts and beyond. She consistently experiments with ethical materials within her own visual arts practice and her most recent exhibitions have included the use of plant-based papers such as bamboo, rice and Japanese washi paper.
Carine’s photography has been published internationally, including Wallpaper Magazine (UK), iD Magazine (UK), Metal Magazine (Spain), Vogue Magazine (AU), Cheese Kombino (FR), Australian Photography Magazine, Milk Magazine (FR), Shift Magazine (JP), Champ Magazine (JP), Art Almanac (AU), Frankie Magazine (AU), Smith Journal (AU), Assemble Paper(AU), Landscape Stories (IT), C41 Magazine (Milan), Aesthetica (UK), Plant Hunter (AU), Bird in Flight (Russia), Jetstar Inflight Magazine (AU), InStyle (AU) She has recently acquired a Master of Fine Art Degree (Major in Photomedia) from the University of New South Wales, Art and Design, and has exhibited in solo and group shows in Los Angeles, Berlin, Rotterdam, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.