Celebrating country, culture and creatures, Taronga Zoo has formally opened their Wildlife Retreat which hosts the artwork of emerging contemporary drone artist, Tim Moriarty.

The retreat features 120 of the Yanyuwa artist’s works which combine contemporary and traditional media through dronography and hand illustration.

Residing on Sydney’s North Shore, Mr Moriarty is very thankful to have his work displayed in such a place.

“It’s supported this narrative of Taronga being aware of this intricate balance of the environment and history and Indigenous storytelling from an authentic point of view,” Mr Moriarty said.

“I was able to operate in a very accessible and cultural space.”

Mr Moriarty lays Aboriginal totem stories across aerial images of Australia’s varied natural landscapes. His portfolio reaches from Tasmania, deep into the Kimberley, across the Northern Territory and everywhere in between.

“My work represents the relationships and their purposes within the ceremony and the purpose with the land – if a crab moves quickly over the land the line work is thin, whereas if it spends longer and its connection is fuller then the line is thicker,” Mr Moriarty explained.

“A variable approach as to how things moved, their purpose and where they moved – it takes it to another level culturally.”

“This collection is a celebration of my love of Country, its natural beauty and the many unique animals found around Australia. Through these pieces, I wanted to tell their stories and their intricate relationship to Country.”

“My aim was to create these works as a perfect fit for the new Wildlife Retreat at Taronga as the pieces are about deepening our relationship and emotional connection with animals and nature.”

Mr Moriarty is passionate about understanding the evolution of Indigenous art to involve technology.

“An artist’s relationship with technology is very close normally, it is part of your lifestyle and it doesn’t leave your nearby environment. Whereas a drone can travel vast distances,” he said.

“Art has nothing to do with the medium or the tools. Whenever there has been technology introduced many Indigenous people will write their stories – I got into drones because I write music and I wanted to show people where my heart was when I was writing.”

“I would encourage people looking at these artworks to think about what belonging and Country means to them, and to celebrate and enjoy Indigenous principles.”

The Wildlife Retreat is the first permanent accommodation at Taronga Zoo which comprises 62 suites all fitted with Mr Moriarty’s artworks.

Owned and operated by the not-for-profit Taronga Conservation Society Australia, the Wildlife Retreat will see funds contributed to Taronga’s ongoing animal conservation programs.

By Rachael Knowles