The exhibition took its title from a 1930s text by Edward F Swain, one of Australia’s earliest conservationists, and was called Eucalyptusdom. It reckoned with our cultural history and our ever-changing relationship with the eucalypt.
The exhibition presented more than 400 objects from the Powerhouse Collection, alongside 17 works that were newly commissioned for the event. These works were created by creative practitioners in the fields of design, architecture, film, applied arts, and performance.
Eucalyptusdom explored the eucalypt’s emergence as a symbol of Australian identity in post-Federation Australia. The exhibition drew on the museum’s comprehensive design and applied arts collection, ceramics, furniture, and a sledge made of spotted gum that went with Sir Douglas Mawson to Antarctica.
Nicole Barakat and the Rohingya Women’s Development Organisation
First Nations Fashion and Design
Jonathan Jones and Dr Uncle Stan Grant Snr AM
Anna May Kirk
Damien Wright and Bonhula Yunupingu and Justine Youssef
The exhibition was designed collaboratively by Australian architect Richard Leplastrier AO, SJB architects Jack Gillmer and Adam Haddow, and 3D spatial designer Vania Contreras, with an accompanying soundscape composed by Jane Sheldon and lighting design by Nick Schlieper.
Embedded Artist – Agatha Gothe-Snape
The performance of Equinox, created by Eucalyptusdom artist Jane Sheldon, marked a ceremonial transition, reawakening the exhibition space after a period of rest. This exhibition has since closed.
This work for two sopranos and electronics took Danielle Blau’s poem The Vernal Equinox Story as a setting. A finalist in Australia’s 2020 Peter Porter Poetry Prize, it employed recurrent palindromes and was full of axes of symmetry — equators — an echo of the twice-annual symmetry of the Earth’s hemispheres in relation to the sun’s light at each Equinox. Sheldon’s composition filled the text with musical mirrors and visual axes of symmetry.
Sheldon is an acclaimed Australian-American soprano and composer who specialises in the creation and performance of exploratory chamber music. Her original work Eucalyptus Wind Rose was created as the soundscape for Eucalyptusdom.
Artist in Conversation – Nicole Barakat
Curator Sarah Rees, in conversation with artist Nicole Barakat, whose art practice engaged unconventional approaches to artmaking to create intricate works that embodied the love and patience characteristic of traditional textile practices.
Artist in Conversation – Anna May Kirk
In the exhibition, Anna May Kirk engaged the viewer’s body through her sculptural glass and sensory installations, treating it as a sensitive and porous instrument for encountering the magnitude of environmental change. In her research-based practice, Kirk entangled references to vast times, intensities, and scales of our transforming planetary condition, often investigating past moments of climatic change throughout Earth’s history to speculate on an uncertain future. Kirk was interested in the representational issue posed by the immaterial and spectral nature of Anthropogenic climate change.
Podcast – In Relation
In Relation is a five-part podcast series hosted by Agatha Gothe-Snape and Emily McDaniel that brings together artists, curators, and researchers to share lessons from their work with trees. Connected to the 2021-22 Powerhouse exhibition Eucalyptusdom, episodes address spectres and sentinels, resistance and resilience, vitality, identity and alchemy. The conversations explore the relationships between humans and trees, ecosystems and sustainability, culture and Country.