Close Encounters

Over 240 lanterns lit up the ArtPlay space in a display drawn from the Japanese obon festival tradition, where the lanterns (toro) guide the spirits of the dead to their worldly home, and then back to their resting place. Children at ArtPlay, Melbourne, Australia’s only public gallery for children, constructed hundreds of Japanese lanterns from shoji paper and wood; each with the name and drawing of a species of plant or animal that has become extinct in Australia since colonisation. This breathtaking installation paid respect to the extinct species of Australia, in a timely reminder of the extinction crisis that we currently face on a global scale. Workshops conducted in tandem with Parks Victoria in May 2015.