Born 22 May 1909 / Died 30 November 1988/ British
Badass Reasons She Should be Remembered:
Before she’d even taken up a pencil to start drawing flowers she was a total badass - just before the outbreak of the second world war, she rallied against fascism while living in Berlin during the 1930s. She also voiced her ideas about the Spanish Civil War & during WW2 worked as a draftsperson for aircraft.
She conducted numerous trips into the Amazon Jungle. A jungle full of things that are trying to kill you - snakes, piranhas, crocodiles, other people etc. And she did it with a minimal group, as well then painting her flowers from life. She was fearless AF. You want proof? Here’s some proof. When interviewed about her life in 1988 she recounts the following when a group of prospectors charged into where she was staying alone.
“He comes in, but I stick my revolver into his stomach, and that gave him a shock, I can tell you.” - She went to say how after this event she was treated “like a queen”.
This one contains both activism & art practice (so it’s secretly definitely my favourite). She was one of the first people to start raising the issue of deforestation of the Amazon & the environmental impacts that this had. Unfortunately, her refrain still rings true today & we haven’t learnt anything (ugh). She made a significant departure from traditional botanical illustration to bring this to light in her paintings - she started to put in backgrounds to show the context of each plant and how important they were to the whole environment. (Sounds slightly familiar? That’s cause Mariane North (link to blog post) also bucked trends by putting works in context with the environment. She earnt major respect from other environmentalists at the time.
In 1967 she became the first women to make the southern approach of the Pico de Neblina. This range is located on the border of Brazil & Venezuela and is 3000m above sea level. Now I like bushwalking but this is a whole ‘nother level. Unfortunately due to the road being dodgier than an Aussie country highway they had to turn back when only one-third of the way up