Making Ideas

Robinson draws inspiration from belief systems including myths, fairy tales and European folklore. Select your favourite fairy tale or book and create a work of art inspired by the moral in the story.

Beatrice represents the two allegorical figures, the Greek sea monster Scylla and the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter. Robinson has included symbols such as the purple fabric to represent the poisonous purple flowers in the narrative. Select an allegorical figure (a character who represents an important moral or ideal). Create a sculpture which illustrates the key elements of this figure’s story, rather than a literal representation.

Take it further

Robinson is a creator of new species, splicing together a hybrid creature. Beatrice is a chimera, an organism that is made of cells from two or more organisms. Draw your own chimera by joining two organisms together. You might combine a plant and an animal or join two different animals or two different plants together. Create a 3D version of your chimera using textiles, clay or plasticine. What is the name of your new hybrid?

You may like to make your new creature using recycled materials, plasticine or textiles like Julia.

Getting started

Bring the artist into the classroom

installation view: 2020 Adelaide Biennial of a Australian Art: Monster Theatres featuring Beatrice by Julia Robinson, Santos Museum of Economic Botany; photo: Saul Steed.

Beatrice by Julia Robinson

Inspired by the Greek sea monster Scylla and the protagonist of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Daughter

detail: Julia Robinson, Australia, 1981, Beatrice, 2019–20, Adelaide, silk, thread, felt, steel, brass, gold-plated copper, foam, cardboard, pins, fixings, dimensions variable; © Julia Robinson/Hugo Michell Gallery.

Education Resource

See our Julia Robinson education resource for more ideas for the classroom