The prototype for Inheritance emerged from Joel Mitchell’s graduate exhibition at Charles Darwin University, 2014, in which he presented a range of wood sculptures based on local seedpod forms. Included among these was a sculpture based on waterlily seedpods complete with three seedpod forms on salvaged metal stems, rising from a salvaged metal lilypad base. The wood had also been salvaged from Darwin’s hinterland in accordance with the artist’s conservationist ethos and the ideas of regeneration and sustainability inherent in the work.
Mitchell was commissioned to make a new lily seedpod sculpture in wood and metal for The Quarter, to incorporate a shallow water fountain element. The water pools and trickles over the lilypad base, in a sense returning the sculpture to its waterlily roots, as though floating on a pond.
In depicting a seedpod form, Inheritance is a work about regeneration and what is passed down from one generation to another. The sculpture’s placement as part of an outdoor children’s play area ties in with this theme. The work also celebrates local Top End plant life; through reworking, reimagining, and up-scaling these forms, it aims to create an enduring sense of fantasy and wonder.
Joel Mitchell, b. 1980
salvaged Darwin woollybutt (Eucalyptus miniata), jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), steel, copper plate
Joel Mitchell is a Darwin-based sculptor and photographer who draws inspiration from Top End nature and natural forms. He is a recent visual arts and education graduate from Charles Darwin University who has previously worked and shown as an artist since 2006 with his first public art commission, a sculpture for the Sisters of Mercy Catholic Church, Parramatta (NSW). Mitchell is currently working towards his first solo exhibition to open in Darwin, October 2016. Mitchell’s work explores ideas of inheritance, brokenness, hope, restoration and beauty. As a sculptor he prefers to work with wood, and enjoys the process of taking a discarded piece of timber and sculpting it until its inherent beauty is revealed.
In 2013 Mitchell received an Honorable Mention for his work (wood sculpture) in the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art’s Members’ Exhibition. He has also been recognised for his photographic work with a first prize in the 2013 Wetlands Australia Photography Competition (Flora), and a silver medal in the 2011 Epson Panoramic Photography Competition (Amateur).