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Artists Group

The 2010 Taronga Foundation Artists in Residence Program followed on from the inaugural Zoo AiR which took place at Taronga Zoo in 2009. The residency ran from February until April with artists donating an artwork at the end of the residency period.  Works were then auctioned by Sotheby’s Australia, with all proceeds supporting the Taronga Foundation.  

About the 2010 Program

Taronga Zoo, long known for its conservation work, is now making a name for itself in the visual arts.

If you visited the Zoo between February and May 2010you may have come across up to 20 of Australia’s best artists. Though not perhaps in their natural habitat, they were roaming the Zoo and capturing the animals, visitors and landscapes on paper and film.  Participating in the Taronga Foundation’s Artist in Residence program, each artist depicted the animals and the Zoo in fresh new ways.

The residency aims to raises money for the Taronga Foundation while at the same time offering unique experiences and inspiring surroundings to some of our most highly regarded painters, sculptors and photographers.  It was trialled for the first time in 2009 and the response from participating artists was immediate and exciting.  Many had not visited the Zoo since childhood and were delighted at the changes that had taken place; the conservation focus, world class exhibits and education endeavours.

Artists began the residency with an overnight stay at the Zoo’s Roar and Snore campsite, meeting the Keepers and their charges, exploring the Zoo after dark, sleeping in luxury tents and feeding the animals in the morning. Artists were provided with a special pass to visit and work as much as they wish over a three-month period, including access before opening hours.  Each artist agreed to donate a work. Artworks were auctioned at Sotheby’s Australia on 2 August 2010. More than 50 works, including studies and sketches, were auctioned, with all monies raised supported the Taronga Foundation.

The 2010 participants where again of a very high calibre, and included:

Assisting with the project was artist Leo Robba , who participated in the 2009 residency.

Taronga Zoo enjoys an historic connection with the arts community, being adjacent to the site of one of the artists’ camps that sprung up around the Mosman foreshores in the late 19th century. “En plein air” (outdoor) painters Arthur Streeton and Tom Roberts established a significant camp at Curlew Cove in the 1880s, next to what is now Taronga Zoo. Their paintings of the harbour and its surrounds are now cultural icons. A visit to the original Curlew Camp site was included in the artists’ itinerary.

The Taronga Foundation gratefully acknowledges Sotheby’s Australia, the galleries representing the participating artists and the assistance of Jim Crofts Studios in supporting the 2010 residency.