URBAN ANIMALIA: Exploring the human-animal relationship within the ever-growing urban scape of Australia.

Urban Animalia engages the subject matter of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals as devices to explore the adaptation of animals to the Victorian landscape. I engage in the processes of painting and sculpture to morph the physicality of these animals with surrealistic features to create a sense of ‘other’ but familiar.  These works communicate a narrative of adaptation and rely on human understanding to increase awareness of the urban animals in our communities. I engage in installation practice to create an environment where people can interact with the works, eliciting emotional responses or generating conversation. Sleep Tight, a trial work consisting of wire spiders and a painted doona cover, plays on the familiarity of spiders in our homes, some of the most well-adapted creatures, yet also some of the most feared.

Walk in the Park proceeds as another familiar environment, engaging common native birds from around the state, that works to entice the viewer into thinking about the birds around their homes while engaging with the artwork. That is the ultimate goal of my work, to inspire care and consideration for how these urban animals adapt to our built spaces and how we go about coexisting.

Creating artworks can be a meticulous process, starting from conceptualizing an idea to sourcing the right materials to bring it to life. This was the case with my artworks, which required me to source materials from various places. I frequented second-hand stores like Savers, fabric stores, and I even scoured outside for natural materials like feathers to use in my art.

The process of sourcing the materials was an adventure in itself, and it made me feel like a bird gathering resources to create something beautiful. Every trip added to my collection of resources and allowed me to experiment with different textures, colours, and shapes. It was a fascinating journey, and I enjoyed every moment of it, as you should with making.


Willie Wagtail sculpture photographed outside on a ledge with dappled sunlight around
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Super Sized Willie Wagtail’, 2023, clay, balsa wood, wire and feathers.
Picture of the artist during installation
Installing ‘Sleep Tight’ artwork


Wire spiders swarming the corner of a white wall
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Sleep Tight’, 2023, wire spiders.
Wire Spiders climbing the corner of a white wall
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Sleep Tight’, 2023, wire spiders.


Photograph of installation, bed spread painted with spiders laid down on the floor with pillows and wire spiders climbing the walls.
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Sleep Tight’, 2023, wire, painted duvet cover.


Sculpture of two ibis, one made from a chicken and chips container
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Bin Chickens’ 2023, plastic miniature bin, acrylic paint, fur, guinea foul feathers, paper container, clay and beads.
sculpture of a plover on a green base with cars around it
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Roundabout Plover’ 2023, clay, beads, feathers, fur, acrylic paint, fake grass and toy cars.


Bird sculpture in tree branches
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Fairy Wren’ 2023, mixed media sculpture, 15 x 15cm.


Installation of bird sculptures
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Walk in the Park’, 2023, mixed-media sculptural installation, dimensions variable.


Large blue fairy wren sculpture in the middle of a display space with spotlights
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘King of the wrens’ 2023, papier mâché, velvet, feathers, clay and marbles.


Two ibis sculptures touching beaks
Mollie-Rose Chislett, ‘Bin Chickens’ 2023, mixed media sculpture, dimensions variable.


instagram: @monarch.veins


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Mollie-Rose Chislett