The University of Newcastle, Australia

Ugly is Beautiful for Innovation Award Winner

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

A love of weird and wonderful animals has inspired a remarkable beginning for alumnus and Newcastle natural history illustrator, Sami Bayly.

Sami Bayly with illustration of an ibis
Entrepreneurial Natural History Illustration alumnus Sami Bayly has developed a range of greetings cards, t-shirts and framed prints featuring her illustrations. (Image credit: Olive Tree Markets)

The recent graduate was awarded the Dr Tan Chin Nam and Colleen Innovation Award for her honours thesis – which also inspired her first book, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ugly Animals, with its delightful tag line ‘It's time for ugly animals to shine!’

It’s wonderful to be recognised by Dr and Mrs Tan for innovation as an illustrator. I hope my book inspires people to see beauty in all creatures and they learn about science and nature along the way.” - Sami Bayly, Bachelor of Natural History Illustration (Honours), 2018

The book features scientific illustrations of more than sixty ‘ugly’ creatures in all their breathtaking beauty. It brings the art of natural history illustration to life for a new generation to enjoy, an innovation recognised by generous award founders, Dr and Mrs Tan.

You can purchase Sami’s book of beautifully ugly illustrations

Newcastle's natural history heritage

Sami draws inspiration from Newcastle sisters Harriet and Helena Scott. Their historic works from 170 years ago have been preserved for future generations in the University archive collection thanks to the generosity of donors through the Reta Light Memorial Trust and the Vera Deacon Regional History Fund.

Inspired by innovation

The Dr Tan Chin Nam and Colleen Innovation Award was established in 2015 by distinguished alumnus and Honorary degree recipient, Dr Tan Chin Nam, and his wife Colleen Tan. The Award acknowledges original thinkers who demonstrate a significant and meaningful contribution to the field of innovation in their chosen discipline.

We are passionate about supporting and encouraging innovation and have decided to enhance the Dr Tan Chin Nam and Colleen Innovation Fund to include two awards; one for PhDs and one for Honours graduates. As an alumnus, I am so grateful for the opportunities my education provided me with and we feel honoured to be able to support innovation in our future leaders.” - Alumnus Dr Tan Chin Nam

Read more stories in The Gift magazine