person painting water colour art of a bicycle

3 november 2023 – 9 march 2024

person painting water colour art of a bicycle

The term still life describes a work of art that depicts objects from the natural or man-made world. A still life can be a celebration of material pleasures such as food or wine, but may also be a warning of the ephemerality of these pleasures. A still life usually illustrates things that are inanimate and which are often part of daily life. In contemporary art, the concept of stillness and everydayness might be shown with cereal boxes, plastic utensils, superhero collectibles, or real fruit. That is, everyday life of the 21st century combining synthetic and organic material.

The objects on display in the Cairns Museum are not animated. But they used to be part of everyday life and are very much alive in helping tell the history of Cairns. Cairns Art Society artists have chosen various items from the Museum’s collection to represent stillness in an active contemporary way. Some of the artists recall their childhood through the chosen items and reflect on growing up with their parents and grandparents. For some artists, the items they have chosen prompt them to recall a particular era, a dream or an activity. And in remarkable and personal ways, each artist addresses environmental changes through their creations.

Dream Boat painting by Dorte Colja
A collection of seashells artwork by Joanne Bingham

(L- R): Dream Boat by Dorte Colja; A collection of seashells by Joanne Bingham. 

In addition to their artwork, each artist has contributed an artist statement, and a few images showing the creation of their artwork. You can view these on the touch screen in the gallery.

Lungs of the Ocean ceramic artwork by Monique Burkhead
Crosses artwork by Luisa Manea

(L- R): Lungs of the Ocean by Monique Burkhead; Heaven, Hell, Hot, Humid by Luisa Manea.

The immersive environment of the Temporary Gallery includes a soundscape made especially for this show. A variety of dried and crafted plants enliven the space with their colours and smell. Thus Still Life Comes Alive through the artworks, sounds and plants, evoking the time and space of the past and the present.

The artists whose works are featured are:

Joanne Bingham, Monique Burkhead, Dorte Colja, Shane Danger Coleman, Angela Fielding, Heidi Fischer, Janiel Hsieh, Leena Malinen, Luisa Manea, Belinda Mangano, Eunice McAllister, Judy Noller, Elena Nyleeta Steere, Lone White

Learn more about Still Life Comes Alive