museum piece ― michael mcwilliams – the tasmanian pavilion

A stunning new work of art is gracing the hallowed halls of Hobart’s Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). It’s a beautiful cabinet adorned with panels of local birds painted by Handmark artist, Michael McWilliams.

You may recall the The Tasmanian Pavilion? This stunning cabinet held centre stage at Michael’s November exhibition, which sparked extraordinary scenes, with people queuing outside Handmark Gallery.

The Tasmanian Pavilion is a collaboration between Michael, and local artisan, Peter Collenette, who hand-crafted the cabinet from specialty Tasmanian timber. In what he describes as “his biggest ever project,” Michael spent five years covering the cabinet with intricate paintings of Tasmanian birds, some of them endangered: “The middle panel shows the 12 birds that are endemic to this state and found nowhere else. You could say It is a testament of my love for these birds, which are a little like the Tasmanian Tiger – you don’t appreciate them until they are gone!”

This cabinet is so uniquely special, that it was sold by expression of interest, and Michael could not be “more thrilled with the outcome”. “I was hoping it would end up in a public institution and not hidden away in a private home.”

The Tasmanian Pavilion was purchased by private Melbourne collectors who have generously loaned it to  TMAG, and Curator Jane Stewart is thrilled that this “wonderful example of contemporary Tasmanian art and design is on display for people to see. It fits perfectly within the TMAG collection given it’s connection to Tasmanian birds and Tasmanian art and culture.”