Jeannie Baker: Desert Jungle

National Exhibition Register

  • Artwork from the book Desert Jungle
    Jeannie Baker Artwork from the book Desert Jungle, 2021
    Collage construction. Materials used include preserved vegetation, cactus thorns, earth, stones, artist’s clay, fabric and paint
    475(h) x 770(w) x 88(d)
    Image Credit
    Artwork: Copyright courtesy the artist. Photo credit: Jaime Plaza

About the exhibition

Desert Jungle is the latest exhibition of artworks by renowned children’s book author and artist, Jeannie Baker. Desert Jungle is a travelling exhibition, co-produced by Penrith Regional Gallery that has been scheduled to align with the publishing of Jeannie’s latest book, also titled Desert Jungle, in 2023.

Jeanne’s vibrant and distinct works present a visual narrative that explores the complex biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert. Over one third of the Australian landscape is classified as desert, and yet for most settler Australians, the desert remains a barren space. In this new story, Jeannie explores the Valley of the Cirios in Mexico, through the perspective of a young child and his grandfather. Through guidance and discovery, the child soon learns that the nature he once feared is a place of endless wonder. The intimacy he experiences with his local area feeds his desire to care for and protect it. In parts of the Valley, towering stands of cardon cactus – some of the largest cacti on Earth – and elephant trees, mix with cirios and other unique desert plants as a ‘forest’, almost a desert jungle. These cacti and other plants form both subject and material for Jeannie, who incorporates their clippings in her intricate and stunning works.

During an historic moment, when the global community is grappling with the irreversible effects of climate change, Desert Jungle offers a moment of reflection and insight, to celebrate that which is unique, and cannot be lost.

Artists and Curator

Toby Chapman/Nina Stromqvist

Jeannie Baker

Available Dates and
Exhibition Details

Available dates
10/07/2023 - 31/12/2025
Exhibition size
Under 50 sq or running metres
Originating state
Organised by
Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of The Lewers Bequest
$4,000 (inc. freight)
Web Site
Accompanying materials available
Education Kit, Exhibition Tour Manual, Interpretative/Didactic Panels, Labels, Signage
Other materials
Jeannie’s striking collage assemblages form the foundation of the Desert Jungle exhibition. Containing natural, found and synthetic materials, the arresting collage pieces tell the Desert Jungle story as audiences are given a rare opportunity to see the original pieces on display. They are accompanied by a series of drawings that reveal the artist’s unique process - from storyboard sketches to intricate soft pencil markings that build to create this wonderful story. As well, a box of collage materials show the every-day textures Jeannie uses, aiming to inspire and ignite the imagination of audiences to create from their own environments. Designed to complement students visit to the Desert Jungle exhibition, a comprehensive learning resource for preschool and primary aged students and educators is included in the touring package. This resource includes an introduction to key themes, suggested activities, and discussion prompts, as well as a collage materials box to improve access to the exhibition and assist a variety of audiences to engage with techniques used by Jeannie Baker. The resource aligns with curriculum areas including Visual Arts, English, and Humanities and Social Sciences and explores themes of storytelling, human relationships with nature, biodiversity and environmental protection, and materials and techniques. The Desert Jungle exhibition also includes a designed drop-in activity and 'Jeannie Baker: Desert Jungle' a scaffold of workshops designed for all ages inspired by Jeannie’s storytelling, collage constructions and imaginative characters.
Primary contact
Peta Hendriks
Registrar, Exhibitions & Collection
Penrith Regional Gallery
0410 182 144
Secondary contact
Nina Stromqvist
Curatorial Programs Manager