Dr Raquel Ormella

PhD (ANU) MFA (UWS) BVA (Hons) (UWS)
Honours Convenor and Lecturer, Painting Workshop
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
T: 0402287977

Areas of expertise

  • Visual Arts And Crafts 1905

Research interests

  • Art, Politics and Activism
  • Animal/Human Interactions
  • Urban birds and Habitecture
  • Expanded Painting and Contemporary Abstraction
  • Contemporary Performance Art, about and with animals
  • Artists interventions into Archives 


Raquel Ormella has a diverse artistic practice that includes video, installation, textiles and creating zines. Her works investigates how art can encourage political consciousness and social action in relation to questions of national identity and the environment. Her PhD (conferred 2015) examined human interactions with urban birds. The accompanying dissteration examined recent Australian artworks that used living animals as performers and props. 

Raquel is a high profile national and international artist whoes work has been included in the 2015 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, the 2013 California-Pacific Triennial, 2010 Aichi Triennial (Japan), 2008 Sydney Biennale, the 2003 Biennale of Istanbul and the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennale (Brazil), as well as many group exhibitions in Australia including Material Politics, Institute of Modern Art Brisbane (2017) and The National, New Australian Art, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney (2017). She has held solo exhibitions at Milani Gallery in Brisbane, Artspace in Sydney, and Lab 14 CarltonConnect University of Melbourne and Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces in Melbourne. 

  • Museum of Contemporry Art, Australia, Artists Advisory Board (2017 -2018)
  • Board member Australian National Captial Artists inc. (ANCA) (2019 - 2020)

Researcher's projects

I hope you get this, survey exhibition 

In 2018 Shepparton Art Museum (Vic) hosted a major survey exhibition that drew together work from my 2 research foci: political language and its effects on national identity, and the complex relationship between humans and the natural environment.Curated by Dr Rebecca Coates and Anna Briers, the show titled I hope you get thisincludes newly commissioned and historical works spanning 20 years of practice. The exhibition is currently touring to 5 more museums and galleries in the eastern states of Australia (Horsham Regional Gallery, Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery, Launceston, Noosa Regional Gallery and Penrith Regional Gallery), consolidating my profile as a nationally significant artist. The exhibition and tour has received exceptional support funding including: the Australian Government's ‘Visions of Australia’ program ($140,318); development assistance from National Exhibition Touring Support (NETS) Victoria’s Exhibition Development Fund ($10,000); and the production of the catalogue from The Gordon Darling Foundation ($11,000). 

The exhibition has been extensively reviewed, with 30 articles generated, including the cover story of Artist ProfileIssue #43, 2018.https://www.artistprofile.com.au/issue-43/. Visitor numbers have been high, logging 11,923 visitors to the four galleries it has toured to date. 

Nature><Culture Research Group

Dr Raquel Ormella and Ashley Eriksmoen are co-convenors of the SOAD Nature><Culture Research Group

The Nature><Culture Research Group of the School of Art & Design is a forum for researchers whose creative practices address the interactions, relationships, and shared or contested territories between humans and other animals, life and non-life. The Nature><Culture Research Group aims to expand and promote our research capacity in this interdisciplinary area by encouraging the exchange of ideas, fostering collaborations, pursuing opportunities for research funding and publishing. We enrich teaching and learning by sharing these activities and outcomes with the student cohort. The group seeks engagement and impact beyond the university by fostering interdisciplinary research partnerships across ANU and with government, industry and community groups.

The research group fosters an interdisciplinary discourse addressing themes including: habitat architecture; animal-human relationships; shared and contested spaces; urban treescapes and birdscapes; the emergent field of Animal Studies; and the myriad ecological impacts of the Anthropocene. 

The cluster has hosted a number of international and Australian visiting artists, architects, writers, and curators to contribute to events and explore collaborations with ANU researchers.

I thought I heard a bird

In 2019, Eriksmoen and Ormella co-organised a 2-day symposium, To see ourselves as part of something larger. https://soad.cass.anu.edu.au/events/symposium-see-ourselves-part-something-larger-0 The symposium brought together local, Australian, and international scientists, architects, historians and artists to consider how we might understand our place within complex ecosystems, be these nature reserves or the streets where we live. The symposium centred on the ways that visual arts and design can build meaningful recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty; compassion for the more-than-human world; and strengthen our connections to country. The symposium was in conjunction with the exhibition opening of I thought I heard a bird at Craft ACT. The show was co-organised by Eriksmoen and Ormella, and curated by Ormella.

The works in I thought I heard a bird consider what it is to represent without picturing landscape where birds are present or absent. both to focus on the histories birds signify, and what it is to consider the bird as a marker for a landscape and environment. The included works address the theme both conceptually and practically, ranging from paintings to models of realised public works of habitat architecture. I thought I heard a bird continues to evolve, with additional artists and architects and new works being added for a second iteration of the exhibit scheduled for October 2020 in Hobart, Tasmania. 

Past student projects

HDR student projects include abstract and figurative approaches to painting, performative and realtional practices, and often address what it means to make art in this moment of environmental change.

Claudia Chaseling (PhD) completed: 2019

Thesis title: Spatial Painting and the Mutative Perspective: How painting can breach spatial dimensions and transfer meaning through abstraction.

Rebecca Mayo (PhD) completed: 2018

Thesis title: Labours of Care: Art practice and urban ecological restoration

Ellen Kent (PhD) completed: 2016 

Thesis title: Entanglement: Individual and Participatory Art Practice in Indonesia

Charlotte Banks (MPhil) completed: 2017

Title: I Sing the Body Electric: Drawing and Painting Active Bodies in an Active Workplace

 Susan Buret (MPhil) completed: 2016

Title: Beyond the Frame: Painted Pattern in Extended Pictorial Space

Wendy Tsai (MPhil) completed: 2014

Title: A Response to Space in the Natural Environment: Painting as a Phenomenological Study of the Blue Mountains, NSW


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Updated:  30 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers