Internationally recognised painter, sculptor, and installation artist, Sinta Tantra, creates a monumental public artwork entitled Temple of Flora (2021) for the exhibition, Tides of the Century, at Ocean Flower Island. Situated outside the museum entrance, the floor-based artwork occupies the silhouette of a petal, inviting visitors to interact and step onto the piece itself.
Tantra collages painting with archived engravings featured in Robert John Thornton's book of the same title, Temple of Flora (1799 and 1807) and John Gould's The Birds of Australia (1840 and 1848). Here, viewers become immersed within a world of saturated colours, geometric forms, as well as bird and botanical prints.
Drawing inspiration from Tantra's own heritage and identity, Temple of Flora reimagines the physical and conceptual nature of islands. Tantra writes, “I'm interested in the tropical climate of Bali and Hainan, its biodiversity, its flora and fauna and how these ideas of otherness were documented, studied, and categorised in the Victorian era.”
Temple of Flora presents a matrix of balance and rhythm, reminiscent of planetary constellations, puzzle or game. Tantra emphasises the importance of individual experiences and the connections they form between these fragmented images and forms to create new readings.