Chasing the elusive Arctic Poppy

Art and Culture Mondays by Bronte Hogarth

Michèle Noach was born in Australia and lived in The Netherlands & the US before her family settled in London during the 1960s. She has travelled to the Arctic twice on art & science expeditions where she first became fascinated with the Arctic Poppy.


  • The Arctic poppy (Papaver laestadianum) is a rare plant species found only in the harsh, Arctic conditions of the northernmost parts of Scandinavia.

The Far North and its unique Arctic Poppy have captivated and intrigued her, and both were the focus of her 3-year artist residency at the Eden Project in Cornwall. Her idea at Eden was to examine the Arctic Poppy’s adaptive capabilities in a rapidly warming environment by attempting to grow them in the moderate climate of Cornwall.

This process lead to a unique collaboration between Michèle as artist and Ian Martin as scientist, in his role as Eden horticulturist and seed specialist of semi-arid and arid regions (the Arctic being classified as a desert due to its lack of precipitation). Together they grew, researched and observed the poppies over the 3 years.

Here is the outcome of this work – 3d images that when viewed in the gallery or exhibition space morph as the viewer shifts from one position to another.


Death into Life Flip 3

The Last Flake 2

The work delves into how the Arctic Poppy will withstand rising temperatures, and it’s an investigation that reflects a much larger issue because rising temperatures caused by human induced climate change threatens the future of many species.

  • DID YOU KNOW: About 80 per cent of Australia’s vertebrate species and plant species are found nowhere else in the world and will have difficulty adapting to the rate and extent of projected climate changes because they are restricted in geographical and climatic range!*

Want to know what actions you can take to combat climate change? Head to our website for all our tips and activities.

*Fact from CSIRO

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