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Art and science come together in exhibition

Tuesday 14 May 2019 12:25pm

pat and sharon image
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Associate Professor Patricia Cragg (left) and Hocken Librarian Sharon Dell at the opening of the Hocken's latest exhibition A Garden of Earthly Delights, on Friday. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Scientific objects and artefacts from across the University of Otago intermingle with well-known works of art in the Hocken Collections’ latest exhibition.

A Garden of Earthly Delights, which opened on Friday, promises to be immersive, experiential and sensory as it references the senses, elements and ideas that the arts and sciences both investigate.

Curated by Robyn Notman, Head Curator, Pictorial Collections, with assistance from 2008 Frances Hodgkins Fellow, artist Heather Straka, the exhibition provides an opportunity to see a selection of rare, interesting and beautiful objects while celebrating 150 years of teaching, research, exploration, collecting and curiosity at the University.

"The exhibition offers a rare glimpse at some of the wonderful collection items which are housed and cared for by the University of Otago at a variety of locations across the Dunedin campus."

The pair assembled pieces from the Hocken Collections, the Otago Library’s Special Collections, the Health Sciences Library, the Embellishment Collection, the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship Trust Collection, the W. D. Trotter Anatomy Museum, and research collections in the Archaeology, Botany, and the Geology departments.

Ms Notman describes the outcome as a “cross pollination of nature and culture”.

“The exhibition offers a rare glimpse at some of the wonderful collection items which are housed and cared for by the University of Otago at a variety of locations across the Dunedin campus.

“It offers an imaginative and open interpretation of the relationship between the pieces and aims to stimulate ideas and associations that may not always be made between such a diverse group of natural and human-made objects,” she says.

By providing a unique opportunity to see highlights from across the University’s collections, A Garden of Earthly Delights celebrates the teaching and research tools available on campus.

The University has hundreds of specialists, researchers, academics, technicians, fellows and students who use and maintain these items and the institution is very fortunate to have such a diverse and important range of historical artefacts to learn from.

Examples of this include the Brendel models – botanical plant demonstration reproductions beautifully handmade from papier-mâché, held in the Department of Botany, and the richly coloured botany teaching charts, now held in the Hocken.

Check it out:

A Garden of Earthly Delights
Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, 90 Anzac Ave, Dunedin
Now to Sun 11 Aug, 2019

(The exhibition will be open Mon to Sat, 10am to 5pm)