Garden blogs

Drawing Inspiration

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I help to run our Oriel Yr Ardd Gallery so I get to meet the artists and to help some of them plan how they’re going to exhibit.

This week I met Roy Wiles, a retired senior lecturer from the University of South Wales who spent his research career exploring tropical rainforest rivers from Thailand to Papua New Guinea and in Central America.

Roy is a water mite expert. He is also a gifted illustrator who draws memories of rainforests which have now been destroyed and he will be exhibiting these here in September and October under the title ‘Between Capricorn and Cancer: the art and observations of a field ecologist’.

We think these drawings will be really popular with visitors, especially as each drawing will be accompanied by entertaining anecdotes – Roy has plenty of these.

If you look at the Strangler Fig image at the top of the page, Roy told me an astonishing story of how it is pollinated by a female fig wasp, how he came face to face with a wild orangutan and then went on to recount how a student was defecated on by a macaque monkey.

All fun stuff but there is, of course, the horrendous story of deforestation that needs to be told – Roy’s successful approach to practical conservation that treats indigenous people with respect needs to be more widely heard. The exhibition also gives our scientists the opportunity to talk about research they are doing on rainforest tree regeneration using DNA barcoding.

Watch out nearer the time for details but in the meantime, have a look at Roy’s new website.