“I was struck with the spiritual connections that the gardeners had for the earth”... Ponch Hawkes 2016
The poetry of the earth 2016 series of photographs celebrates the diversity of gardening practices in local residents’ gardens by renowned Australian photographer Ponch Hawkes. The works form part of the Council’s art collection which features a rich and fascinating selection of artworks by many high-profile Australian artists.
Commissioned by Council in 2016, the series explores the powerful relationship between the gardeners and their natural environments, and their interaction with the plants which are cultivated and nurtured in their gardens. Provoking reflection on the changing climatic and environmental conditions, and interest in sustainable gardens, the works encourage a powerful connection with the earth and nature. The photographs were featured in Sanctuary, the curated group exhibition staged in Council’s Gallery from 4 March to 10 April 2016.
Ponch Hawkes is a leading Australian photographer based in Melbourne who has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas since 1976. She is celebrated for her practice that addresses her interest in documenting communities, history and the everyday and cultural, social and political life. Her works are represented in major public museum collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, State Library of Victoria and many private collections.
Ponch Hawkes addresses notions of community and the everyday and investigates the gardener’s interaction with the plants which are cultivated and nurtured in their gardens. Our neighbourhood gardens are presented as earthly and powerful spaces which sustain, enrich, heal and inspire their owners. As Ponch Hawkes states "I was struck with the spiritual connections that the gardeners had for the earth".
Hawkes illuminates the role of our local gardens as therapeutic sites or sanctuaries that offer peace, tranquility or respite to the gardener’s and their families, embracing the healing power of plants and gardening in contemporary culture.