Lillian Whitaker is a Meanjin (Brisbane) visual artist and musician whose practice adopts an environmental perspective. She analyses aspects of ecology with a specific focus on themes of symbiosis, mutualism and parasitism within European honeybee colonies. Through affective art experiences, Whitaker aims to highlight the importance of ecological balance in the context of a human-induced Anthropocene.
She uses practical field-work methods whereby she carefully observes ecological phenomena and links these to conducted scientific research. This involves collaborating with bee colonies to create physical sculptures and soundscapes.
While completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Art, Whitaker studied under a Vice Chancellor’s elite visual and performing arts scholarship. She was later involved as an executive member in the student artist-run initiative Post Datum, fulfilling the position of treasurer from mid-2019 until mid-2020.
In 2017 as a recipient of a Creative Generation Excellence Award, Whitaker exhibited bee-related artwork The Hive (2017) in both the University of the Sunshine Coast Art Gallery and GoMA. As a recipient of the Flying Arts Alliance Queensland Regional Art Award: Betty Crombie Young Artist Development (2018) and Digital Art Award (2019), She went on to exhibit environmental artworks in Meanjin-based galleries, including the Judith Wright Centre and QCA’s Pop Gallery, as well as galleries in Hervey Bay, Moranbah, Roma, Charters Towers, Charleville, Gatton, Ingham, Toowoomba, Chinchilla, Winton, Toogoolawah and Goondiwindi.
In her 2020 artist residency at Queensland’s State-Library - the Edge, Whitaker merged art, technology, communication and scientific methods to create artworks that responded to scientific provocations concerning honeybee behaviour.
Whitaker recently presented public art project, Co-existing Pollinators, for Metro Arts STUDIO CITY Brisbane Art and Design Festival. Here, she combined culinary, participatory and sculptural elements, encouraging public engagement with a live bee colony.
As an artist, I feel a crucial sense of responsibility to provide enriching and educational art experiences to communities, empowering them through scientific education and solution-based optimism.