Painting runs in family tree

Mike Bamford with a self-portrait by his great-grandfather Alfred John Bamford. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d446664
Mike Bamford with a self-portrait by his great-grandfather Alfred John Bamford. Picture: Martin Kennealey        www.communitypix.com.au d446664

BORN 110 years apart, two nature lovers from one family share artistic skills that are on show in Wanneroo.

Kingsley zoologist Mike Bamford (born 1959) is exhibiting his work alongside those created by his great-grandfather Alfred Bamford (1849-1929).

While they never met, the two men have similar styles and interests and their complementary drawings and paintings are on display in the Wanneroo Gallery until January 13.

‘The Artful Gene’ project started in the UK earlier this year, with an exhibition in Letchworth where Alfred lived and worked.

It came to Perth in November and was on display at Joondalup Art gallery for two weeks before moving to Wanneroo for a two-month exhibition.

Alfred wanted to be a zoologist but was advised it was a bad career choice; however, his sketchbooks are filled with drawings of landscapes, plants and animals.

His completed paintings include detailed landscapes from the UK and abroad, as well as paintings of insects.

Mike was born and educated in Perth and knew almost nothing about his paternal great-grandfather until 1986. He was already an established wildlife artist and zoologist when he first visited the UK and his aunt gave him Alfred’s sketchbooks, saying “you’re the artist in the family; you should have these”.

The project combines the art of scientific illustration with a range of events exploring art, music, science and urban biodiversity. One of the free events is a night walk on December 18 from Wanneroo Recreation Centre from 7.15pm.

Mike will also be sketching in the gallery on December 16 and 19 from 2pm to 4pm, when people can watch him work and ask questions.

He has also been creating an Artful Gene mural based on Lake Joondalup’s biodiversity through a community project open to people of all ages.

The last workshop for that will be held tomorrow, December 9, from 2pm to 4pm, and the final mural will be displayed in the Wanneroo exhibition.

The Artful Gene team will hold a festive evening of science songs from 6.30pm on December 12 at the Wanneroo Gallery.

It will include a performance of Phrivolous Physics, a collection of physics parodies written by Alfred’s son Alec and sung by Mike’s son, musician Josh and friends.

There will be a children’s art workshop on January 6 from 10am to 11am and an open day on January 9. The Bamfords are also planning a ‘gardens for wildlife’ workshop on January 13 from 10.30am to noon.

All events are free, but require bookings by calling 9405 5920 or emailing wlcc@wanneroo.wa.gov.au.

Original artworks are not for sale but a selection of Mike’s grasshopper paintings, individually numbered and signed by the artist, are available, along with other gift items such as a souvenir program, gift cards and T-shirts.

Mike and his wife Mandy’s latest book The Wild Side: Chronicles of Nature. Part 1 – Biology without Borders, featuring essays on the nature of nature and his illustrations, will also be for sale.

ART EXHIBITION

What: The Artful Gene

Where: Wanneroo Gallery, Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre, Rocca Way

When: until January 13, 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday

More: www.mike.bamford.id.au

Event bookings: 9405 5920

Note: Wanneroo Gallery will close from December 25 to January 3.