2021 to now
The planet Venus has been the focus of two years of creative research through painting and archival investigation. This work explores Venus in its dual conception as Earth’s twin planet and as a contested repository for 2032 places named after renowned women and mythological females of Earth. Overlooked by space science and deemed of marginal significance in recent western imagination, Venus is on the cusp of new era of scientic discovery with the ESA-NASA missions due to launch from the end of this decade, offering a chance to reimagine our neighbouring planet.
Since late 2021, the process of painting has involved intimacy and close sensory proximity with more than 120 sites by making haptic paintings of the surface of Venus. These works interpret the uncanny imaging of the Synthetic Aperture Radar instrument used on NASA's 1974 Mariner 10 and 1990 Magellan missions. These paintings also serve as portraits of Venus and the archive of women whose names strangely and sometimes problematically inhabit its landscapes. Finally, they reveal that the selection of place names by the International Astronomical Union needs to more justly represent the world’s cultures and genders.
Tubman crater, Venus Project, Lily Hibberd 2023.
Venus: new perspectives towards 2031
In 2023, this work will expand through an artist residency with the Science Museum in London, as part of a two-year project titled “Venus: new perspectives towards 2031”, to establish an open relationship with Venus through reflexive and collaborative work and engage creative and scientific communities in reimagining our relationship with this overlooked living body.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through Creative Australia, its principle arts investment and advisory body.
Fifty Venusian Features
This slide show presents the first fifty paintings made from the NASA radar images in 2022– 2023. There is a crater named for the Ancient Greek astronomer Aglaonice, or Ba‘het Corona dedicated to the Egyptian personification of abundance, and Wheatley crater for Phillis Wheatley the first black writer to be recognised in the United States of America. Lise Meitner, the Nobel prize winning Austrian-Swedish physicist has her own crater, while Baker crater is named in memory of the French-American pilot, activist and performer Josephine Baker.
Didilia Corona, 2022. Didilia, E. Slavic (USSR) childbirth goddess, now contested.
Pavlova Corona, 2022. Anna Pavlova, Russian dancer (1881–1931)
Sappho Patera, 2021. Sappho, lyric poet from Lesbos (c. 630-570)
Callas Crater, 2022. Maria Callas American-born Greek soprano (1923–1977)
Carmenta Farra. Carmenta, Roman goddess of water sources
Banumbirr Vallis. Banumbirr, Yolgnu name for Venus
Brynhild Fossae. Brynhild, celebrated Nordic warrior
Bathsheba Crater. Bathsheba, a queen from the Hebrew bible
Seoritsu Farra. Seoritsu, Japanese stream goddess
Cline Crater. Patsy Cline, American singer (1932-1963)
Avviyar Crater. Avviyar, ancient Tamil poet
Amalasuntha Crater. Amalasuntha, Ostrogoth (12th c. Italian) queen
Hellman Crater. Lillian Hellman, American playwright and activist (1905–1984)
de Lalande Crater. Marie-Jeanne de Lalande, French astronomer (1768–1832)