"Some artists are pitifully exposed by a survey or retrospective... Nivison, however, is a painter who seems to grow in stature when the work of two decades is brought together in one place."

John McDonald, Sydney Morning Herald
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Above from left: 'Jeremy's Voice — Invasion', Acrylic, Graphite and Gesso on 640 gsm Wrag 2021. 'Josephine's Voice — Sunshine', Acrylic, Graphite and Gesso on 640 gsm Wrag 2021. 'Leichhardt's Voice — Shroud', Acrylic, Graphite and Gesso on 640 gsm Wrag 2021. Photography Simon Scott, Armidale NSW.
‘Collection Conversion’ 27 March - 11 July 2021 investigates the Tamworth region’s identity by inviting six regional artists working in different mediums to explore, investigate, research and mine six local museums and develop new artworks in response to their collections. Artists: Amy Hammond, Angus Nivison, David Darcy, Katherine Harvey, Rowen Matthews, Vic McEwan

Angus chose the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium (UNE) as the basis for his artworks.

Angus Nivison writes:

I have titled this collection of three large works Voices from the Herbarium because, after immersing myself in these specimens chosen from the collection housed in the N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium, it became apparent that I was in a Tardis consisting of over 100,000 pressed and dried plant specimens, each of which had been collected by someone in the past. The unusual thing about this time machine was that you could only go back in time, not forward. But the wonderful thing was that you could 'meet' the people who had collected the specimens and hear their stories, or rather their voices. Welcome to Voices from the Herbarium.

Josephine's Voice - Sunshine, is a story of love, hardship and triumph. The underlying image in this work is a species of golden everlasting daisy that perhaps was collected around Botany Bay sometime after white settlement and sent back to England; from there, seeds were sent to France. In due course, the seeds came into the possession of Empress Josephine Bonaparte. In turn, she sent them to her beloved Napoleon, in exile on St Helena, to grow in his garden there, perhaps as a forget-me-not - a ray of sunshine, so to speak, in his isolation and punishment. There, the daisies staged a wonderful escape (perhaps looking for Josephine) and naturalised themselves over the entire island.

The second work depicts a species of brush box collected by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1843, sometime before he set off on his final expedition, during which he vanished, never to be found. He was not, to my knowledge (and it is scant, indeed), a professional collector, but the specimen is in amazingly good condition - a testament to Leichhardt's fastidious attention to detail. This makes it all the more intriguing that he perished on that fateful expedition. I thought this might have been the last thing he touched before his disappearance that still physically exists. These thoughts led me to the title Leichhardt's Voice - Shroud.

The third work Jeremy's Voice - Invasion, are in terms of their arrival in Australia, one the more recent and one of the most damaging examples of the ignorance of occupation. It consists of Prickly Pear (background) and the tenacious Tiger Pear (overlaying Image). The latter species was collected by Emeritus Professor Jeremy Bruhl and represents the bleak outlook for this fragile land of Australia. Unless we change our ways, life styles and value what was here originally both botanically and culturally, so much will be lost.

Jeremy's Voice - Invasion is a semi-colon, let us hope there is not a fourth work - called Extinction - in this series.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Emeritus Professor Jeremy Bruhl, Director, N.C.W. Beadle Herbarium UNE, honorary curator Ian Telford and Tim Collins, for their guidance and help.

Angus Nivison, Walcha NSW