Unsuitable Replacement

Marni Stuart (Designer)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

143 Downloads (Pure)


‘Only when the mind opens do the flowers bloom’. (McArthur, 1989, p.16)

Continuing from the work of late-Australian conservationist and botanical illustrator Kathleen McArthur and the Australian wild/flower women (Davis, 2006), my surface patterning practice works to protect the native Queensland Wallum habitat for future generations. At a time of rapid expansion and development and unprecedented weather events, this act of using botanical observation and documentation to help promote and protect native Australian habitats has never been more important.

This research asks the question, how can botanical observation been used as an ecofeminist act of ecological activism, and how has this been explored within my own practice.

To do so, this research aims to use the underlying principles of ecofeminism to uncover the guiding network of practitioners echoing these theories. It will explore how these practices have used botanical observation within their practice, what is the underlying theories behind their work and how gender and ecofeminist theories have been used.

The artwork Unsuitable Replacement, created within this research depicts a plastic bag dancing in the wind on the sand dune recorded a photograph and video. It is patterned with plants endemic to these sand dunes spinifex, pigweed, and snake vine. The inclusion of sound and movement connects the viewer to the space.

The plastic bag takes space where once wildflowers flourished. Its form imitates what once was, but it’s not the same. It’s distracting us from our reckless destruction in the name of progress. We once fought to protect these sand dunes. We now fight to protect our convenience.

The artwork exhibits the potential to evolve a practice into conservation though a botanical culture framework. This outcome reflects the aim of this research; to harnesses to power held within my practice, and that of my peers, to act as a means of environmental conservation.

McArthur, K. (1989). Living on the coast. Kenthurst, Australia: Kangaroo Press.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSee and Seaing Exhibition, Melbourne Design Week 2021, hosted by the National Gallery of Victoria
Media of outputOnline
Size34x50cm and 32sec video recording
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • design, art, conservation, practice-based, practice, pattern, ecology, digital


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