An ode to local litter critters!

Fiona Groom’s photobombing animals are recognisable wherever you see them. Its usually a couple of curious-looking animals ‘staring’ straight at you and you can’t help but grin.
The internationally known, Sunshine Coast artist sends her paintings all over the world for buyers, collectors and as fundraising tools for various animal welfare groups.
She knows the value of humour in raising awareness on animal conservation – and in her new body of work, Fiona’s looking much closer to home!
‘Unearth – a Secret Realm’ is an ode to the critters in leaf litter – and their essential role in our local ecosystem. It opens for viewing opens at Cooroy’s Butter Factory Arts Centre, Friday July 27.
“The idea came as a personal response to land clearing and new subdivisions in our region,” Fiona said.
“I did some research to find out more about animals who are being directly affected – like the Northern Hoppy Mouse! It’s listed as vulnerable in QLD but hasn’t been seen since the late 1800s’,” Fiona said.

“It is a shy, quick little creature so it’s a combination of less numbers and, being hard to spot. But they are seen more regularly in the Northern Territory and across the top of Australia.”
Using her own reference images, Fiona has painted a whole new body of work drawing attention to these lesser known locals, and how we can nurture their neighbourhood.
“The food chain starts with the leaf litter. If the leaf litter is gone, then those animals go and the effects of their loss are felt all the way up the food chain.

““By raking up leaves and dirt in our gardens, we’re all killing these important animals off … and I just feel a need to be their voice,” she said.
“I find animals inherently interesting. They’ve each got their own personalities and these I love bringing out in each painting. Plus people just might become a little bit more aware of these animals if they’re drawn to them for a sort of, fun, interesting reason!”
‘Unearth – a Secret Realm’ opens 6pm, Friday July 27 at the Butter Factory Arts Centre in Cooroy. Entry is free, all are welcome and cash bar available. The exhibition is on show until September 04. Fiona will be onsite each Thursday throughout these dates – group/ school bookings and tours are most welcome, by the artist.

Kate Lawrence
Author: Kate Lawrence

Creativity, Community, Culture