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Explore the World of Assemblage Art with Janine Mackintosh

Janine Mackintosh spent a great deal of time on Kangaroo Island throughout the years before finally deciding to call the paradise home in 2012. “My partner Richard and I purchased a large heritage bush property in 2000 and we both wanted to learn all we could about it,” she says. “Richard is an entomologist, so he was busy studying the insects, while I added to the list of birds we observed and made a reference collection of the plants. My assemblage art evolved from that.”

Janine McIntosh Artist
One of Janine's incredible pieces. Image: Exceptional Kangaroo Island

The move into assemblage art was a somewhat logical step, given Janine’s background in design work and her personal interests. “My partner and I are both passionate about conservation,” she says. “He pursues it through science, and I through art.”

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Janine gathering materials for her artwork. Image: Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Janine’s artworks are made from a breadth of materials, ranging from gum leaves patterned by insect bites to seashells and pumice. “I’m not just making pretty decorations,” Janine explains. “Prior to moving to Kangaroo Island, I worked with clients as a designer. Now I consider the bush to be my client. I am speaking for the bush.”

Watch - Exceptional Kangaroo Island: Our Story


The message Janine wants to articulate to Exceptional Kangaroo Island guests is how incredibly complex the bush is. No object Janine gathers is simply a piece of material. “Every item I collect is a fragment of a story about something bigger,” Janine says. “For example, I might pick leaves that have been chewed by beetles to show how everything is interconnected.”

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Janine in action. Image: Exceptional Kangaroo Island

Sometimes guests are keen to get hands-on with Janine, and in such cases, Janine will sit down and demonstrate how she might position patterns. At other times visitors may want to see and learn about her works. “I enjoy showing visitors my studio. To get here they pass through our precious swathe of bushland, which to me is ecological antiquity, where thousands of species have co-evolved for millennia,” Janine says. “I like to explain the ideas, techniques and motivation behind my art practice and I hope that guests leave with a sense of awe and reverence for Kangaroo Island’s wilderness, where so often the beauty is in its intricate details.”

Related Experience - Kangaroo Island Art Immersion

These three days take guests behind-the-scenes to meet some of Kangaroo Island's finest and most creative artists, as well as the iconic landscape and wildlife encounters the Island is famous for.

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