Fresh from directing award-winning theatre around the world, AM's new Creative Producer Tanya Goldberg is discovering the art of science.
Creative Producer Tanya Goldberg (above)
Image © Australian Museum
As a theatre director, Tanya's work has played to full houses in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as well as Auckland, New York and LA. Most recently she was Resident Director on the Australian production of Matilda the Musical, working in London and around Australia.
Now, Tanya is drawing inspiration from the Australian Museum's newest exhibition: Transformations - Art of the Scott Sisters to develop a dynamic program of events combining live performance, music and illustration.
We’ve all been swept up in the story of the Scott Sisters. What makes them so intriguing, do you think?
Their work is just so exquisite to look at, and at the same time it’s so scientifically significant. I think they embody just how close artistic and scientific enterprise really is. I also find their personal stories so interesting – how their father provided them with this idyllic upbringing and scientific training but that his bankruptcy then put them in such a financially difficult situation. And of course, their lives as such obviously talented people who were so limited in their professional contributions because they were women is sobering to think about.
You’ve incorporated live performance as well as musical elements into upcoming events. Is this the kind of exhibition that naturally inspires expression through other mediums?
I think so. Their work is very evocative. It conjures up not just schemas of flora and fauna which might have been its intended scientific purpose, but it sparks the imagination about the location, the era, their gaze… I think the exhibition does a wonderful job of exploring that with music, lighting and animation. Our live performance is another off-shoot, as are our illustration workshops and our Night Talks about the Scott Sisters impact on both science and art.
You’ve spent lots of time reading over letters and diary entries from the sisters, has anything stood out for you?
Their transition from idyllic life on Ash Island to, in their late 30s, having to get around Sydney to earn money really stays with me. 1866 is a terrible year for them: their mother dies suddenly in January, Helena and her new husband (they only got married the year before) get typhoid fever while surveying the Darling River and he dies, and their father goes bankrupt and they have to sell everything. He has to borrow £50 from Gerard Krefft to get Helena back from Menindee, and when she returns it would have been to a new home, after living on Ash Island for the previous 20 years. Theirs is just such a relatable story about promise, disappointment, resourcefulness and tenacity, and all in the service of such beautiful, beautiful work.
Transformations - Art of the Scott Sisters is on now at the AM.
Full Scott Sisters program:
The Scott Sisters, The Hunter and the Science of Natural History Illustration - Performance and Night Talk
Scott Sisters Behind-the-Scenes Tours
21 MARCH - 1 APRIL
The Scott Sisters And The Art Of Ash Island - Performance and Night Talk