Wing-scales of the female orchard swallowtail butterfly (Papilio aegeus)

Oil pastel, watercolour and gouache on 300 gsm watercolour paper

Butterfly wings are carpeted in tiny vibrant scales, like a modern abstract textile, when seen under the microscope. This piece is a wing section of the female orchard swallowtail butterfly, found across much of eastern Australia and more recently, Western Australia. As well as being strikingly beautiful, this species is also being used as a proxy measurement for the effects of climate change. The artwork is created using the hydrophobic properties of oil pastel and watercolour and floated under glass to represent a specimen on a microscope slide or in a specimen box at a museum, albeit on a giant scale.

Emerging Category

by Chelsea Hopkins-Allan