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ArtSpace at Realm presents ‘The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling’

Published on 21 September 2017
  • Arts and culture
  • Community
  • Environment
  • Leisure activities
  • Parks and recreation

The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling presents four artists whose work draws inspiration from the life and design practice of Edna Walling, Australia’s most influential landscape gardener.

Heather Hesterman, Rebecca Mayo, Sam Cox and Christopher Köller have each been commissioned to produce works for this exhibition, which explores the influence of Walling on many current ideas in landscape design, conservation and urban development.

This contemporary art exhibition presents thoughtful works that reference details of both Edna’s private and professional life, such as the impact of the three significant fires in her lifetime; her unique potato throwing methodology for the layout of significant trees in her design;  the legacy of her championing of naturalism in garden design through Ellis Stones and Gordon;  and her life-long interest in music, ceramics and photography.

Universally regarded as pre-eminent in her field, English-born Walling designed gardens for Dame Nellie Melba and Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, among many other prominent Australians.

Walling was also a pioneer in women’s education, becoming one of the first females to have graduated in horticulture from Burnley Horticultural College in 1919. She was also Australia’s first female property developer, a conservation activist, author and photographer.

Maroondah Mayor Councillor Tony Dib said it was an exhibition not to be missed.

“Edna Walling was Australia’s most prolific garden designer between the 1920s and 50s and the creator of the now heritage-listed Bickleigh Vale, which we’re so fortunate to have right here in the eastern suburbs,” Cr Dib said.

“Edna Walling was also one of the earliest people to reference issues around conservation and the environmental impact of large-scale road development.

“Walling embraced and admired Australian indigenous plants and was an advocate for preserving local flora, particularly remnant bushland on roadsides in the later part of her career,” he said.

Cr Dib will be joined by special guest speakers, Edna Walling’s niece Sue Burston, and landscape garden author Anne Latreille for the launch of the exhibition on Saturday 21 October.

Maroondah residents are invited to take part in a dynamic series of creative workshops, lectures and tours that accompany the Edna Walling exhibition and her ideas in and around the municipality of Maroondah.

“Along with an extensive program of walks, talks and other activities, the exhibition will attract many in the local community who are actively engaged and interested in our local environment,” Cr Dib said.

“All the activities relate to the themes of the exhibition are on offer across Maroondah in September, October and November. These activities are designed for all ages and abilities and include garden and significant tree tours; a lecture about Enda Walling; and creative workshops for young people during the school holidays.”

The Creative Legacy of Edna Walling is on exhibition between 19 September to 12 November at ArtSpace Realm, 179 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood (opposite Ringwood station). Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm and from 10am to 5pm on weekends and public holidays.

For more information on upcoming Edna Walling exhibition events and workshops, visit the Arts in Maroondah website or phone 1300 88 22 33.

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