Canadian artist heads to Darwin for inspiration 

Canadian artist Lyndal Osborne

Canadian artist Lyndal Osborne is spending a week in Darwin researching her latest project, which will draw on the differing environments between Australia and Canada.

Ms Osborne, who grew up in Australia before moving to Canada 30 years ago, is visiting her home country on a grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

An established installation artist and printmaker, Ms Osborne took time out from her research to visit Charles Darwin University and give a lecture on her work to students and staff.

Formerly a printmaker at the University of Alberta, Ms Osborne retired 18 months ago, allowing her more time to concentrate on her installation work, which is created with objects she finds when visiting different environmental systems in her search for ideas and inspiration.

Three years ago she spent a month as artist-in-residence at Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon property on the Shoalhaven River, collecting objects from the riverbank. The visit coincided with fierce bushfires and 40 degree temperatures along the Shoalhaven, inspiring her to collect charred and burnt debris.

She returned to Canada with her creative materials, and created an installation that contrasted the fiery environment of Australia with the freezing winter conditions on Canadian rivers.

To suggest the iciness of Canada, for instance, she collected 8000 glass bottles from waste bins and set them up as a metaphorical river of ice.

She says her latest project is still in its early stages, but she chose to come to Darwin because she had worked in the Territory with Indigenous printmakers nearly three decades ago.

“I’m not certain where my research will take me at this stage, but after collecting ideas and materials from Australia, I will go back to Canada and choose an environment that fits in with the ideas that come from this country,” she says.

Ms Osborne’s new installation  may still be in its early stages, but the final work is already scheduled for showing at up to six venues in Canada on completion.

“Under the terms of the arts grant I must create the work within a year,” she says.

Travelling with her to Australia is fellow installation artist Jen Rae, whose most recent works are video and performance installations that explore themes of displacement , grief, memory and sensory experience.

Ms Rae works from the studios of the Banff Arts Centre, where international artists often gather for collaborative sessions.

Her work ranges from drawing and murals to video installations, most recently with Indian artist Radha Chandrashekaran.