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Australian Grains Genebank: An artistic response

“Australian Grains Genebank – An artistic response” is now showing at the Centre for AgriBioscience as part of National Science Week.

Three hundred kilometres west of Melbourne in the town of Horsham sits the Australian Grains Genebank (AGG), an impressive facility dedicated to acquiring, conserving, characterising and distributing grain crop genetic resources to scientists, breeders and other users for plant breeding and research.

The AGG seed bank is strategically located in the heart of Victoria’s wheat belt at the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources’ (DEDJTR) field station. Costing $6 million, the AGG was designed by H2o architects and officially opened in 2014 after 15 years of planning. The centre contains over 170,000 varieties and is growing every year.

Front of Australian Grains Genebank photographed from the ground.
The Australian Grains Genebank in Horsham, Victoria.

One cannot help but be impressed by this facility, both for its striking architecture and its noble purpose.

Two artists, Steven Rhall and Dave Jones spent two weeks at the AGG as artists-in-residence and produced a body of photographic and videographic works in response to their experience. Helped by the participation of school children from Natimuk Primary School, their works formed the basis of In debt: Saving Seeds at the Horsham Regional Art Gallery from May to July 2015.

Now their works have travelled to Melbourne and are currently on display in a free exhibition at La Trobe University’s Centre for AgriBioscience (AgriBio) in Bundoora in an exhibition entitled The Australian Grains Genebank – An Artistic Response.

The exhibition Australian Grains Genebank – An Artistic Response at AgriBio features both photographic and videographic displays.

Modern digital technology and photography have been combined to create a variety of works which respond to the environment of Horsham as well as the AGG. I have travelled to the DEDJTR field station at Horsham on quite a few occasions and enjoyed seeing the AGG through Rhall’s and Jones’ eyes.

If you are passing by La Trobe University, do come in and take a look.

The Australian Grains Genebank – An Artistic Response will be showing at AgriBio from 11 August to 9 September 2016. Entry is free.


These views are my own, and do not represent the views of my employer.



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