Tabatha Forbes – Plants Collected, Limited Ed. Print.


Tabatha Forbes – Pl.1 Plants Collected. Limited Ed. Print, 600x420mm. Signed, titled and numbered, unframed.

An introduction to this print series from the exhibition Takeaways, BCA Gallery, Rarotonga, 2011.

“For the last decade I’ve been looking at the empirical practices of botanical and natural history illustration.  Within this field is an interest in the processes of collection, identification, introduction (of new flora and fauna) and the consequential appropriation which was tied into many of the early pacific explorations.   Over the last few years I have been focussed on the environmental perception of place and specifically, the aesthetic and artistic histories that shape that perception.

Takeaways is predominantly concerned with the early barter between the indigenous Pacific Islanders and the early European ships: specifically the taking away and the leaving behind of certain objects /plants /animals in the South Pacific.   Some of these are conscious introductions and other accidental – like the ship rat.    This being said, the show is not about the rights and wrongs of cultural exchange.

It’s about how we value culture and environment, and how the changes in those values are influenced by economics, politics, cultural practices and the environmental understanding of the day.

Significantly these items once left or taken are also removed of their original context, becoming transient, without purpose or place.  For example, a Tongan fertility statue on an English saucer or a Catholic rosary on a mother of pearl shell expresses the oddness of the shift in context.  Inevitably their importance, culturally, spiritually, practically and environmentally is also in part, lost, in effect becoming something else.” Tabatha Forbes.

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