Australian Society of Herpetologists presidential crown, 2016, gold plated aluminium and bronze stand, 30x20x23cm, modelled by Pip Beale. Photo by Brenton McGeachie.

Australian Society of Herpetologists presidential crown, 2016, gold plated aluminium and bronze stand, 30x20x23cm, modelled by Pip Beale. Photo by Brenton McGeachie.

Nature as a work of art

It could be a scene straight from ancient Egypt, where the heads of pharaohs were adorned with snake crowns.

But the latest creation of Dr Steven Holland, MAVisualArts '95 has a more modern use.

Nicknamed the ASH snake crown, the gold plated aluminium crown that rests on a bronze stand is fit for any powerful person.

However, in this case, it sits atop the president of the Australian Society of Herpetologists (ASH), which promotes the study of reptiles and amphibians.

It is the culmination of a special cross-campus link up between the ANU School of Art-based Fellow and herpetologist Professor Scott Keogh, from the ANU Research School of Biology (RSB), as part of the Vice-Chancellor's College Artist Fellows Scheme.

Holland has been inspired by nature for years and studied the snakes of the Canberra region for his PhD. He says his link up with Keogh furthered this.

"I wanted to expand my research in biology and I found I could do this through sculpture through the scheme," he says.

"As an artist, I was enriched by working with such an impressive biologist. I went to conferences, attended first year biology lectures and immersed myself in the language biologists use.

"I came to the realisation that biologists are incredibly creative people and it was an inspiration to work alongside them in RSB."