In my work made whilst a research student, my main focus was simply Australian Parrots and Australian native flora. The fact that Australia has over 50 species of parrots means there is an incredible, colourful inventory to draw upon in making work. I recently wanted to move beyond simply depicting beautiful birds of Australia to making work that has something to say or has an intellectual touch. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first person to gag when reading some long-winded pretentious artist’s statement (this arty bollocks generator always makes me laugh) or listening to an artist forcing some vague theories around their mediocre artworks. However, I do enjoy researching and it’s interesting to intertwine this and my artwork.
Previously, this research included things like Yokohama Woodblock Prints, Kacho-Ga Bird and Flower Paintings and Bird Tea Houses…
The IUCN Red List (International Union for Conservation of Nature) is a global database of threatened species which classifies species into various degrees of conservation. In order of seriousness these are Extinct, Extinct in the Wild, Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, Near Threatened and Least Concern (and then those with insufficient data). According to this list and to the Australian Government, Australia has 3 Extinct Parrot species (including the Paradise Parrot), 2 Critically Endangered species (Orange-Bellied Parrot, Night Parrot), 8 Endangered Parrots/Cockatoos and 6 Vulnerable Parrots/Cockatoos.
|Extinct since the mid 1900’s Paradise Parrot 1930年ごろ以来 絶滅したゴクラクインコ|
The fact that we already managed to wipe out the Paradise Parrot, only as recently as the 1930’s and are still pushing other species to extinction is tragic to me. We have some of the most beautiful birds in the world and perhaps don’t realize this until we go overseas. I’m happy to know that there is a lot being done in terms of conservation and protection programs for these birds but still feel a sense of helplessness that they may not be saved. Rather than lamenting or making a cry for activism in my work I am simply interested in depicting these rare species before they disappear; as a kind of tribute or acknowledgement. It was in this spirit that I also made the Swift Parrot Obi that I showed you previously.
|At this point the work was unfinished, but this gives you an idea of what 5 metres long looks like!
In this piece I wanted to depict this cycle of migration and the passing of time. I chose to dye a long narrow piece (5.5 metres long and 38cm wide) that is reminiscent of Japanese hand scrolls, which are ‘read’ from right to left. I will be exhibiting this piece in November in an old elementary school in Kyoto (keep your eyes peeled for updates!) and intend to hang the work as a circular loop, whereby the viewer walks around the piece and sees the story slowly unfolding.
|the first ‘scene’ of breeding in Tasmanian Eucalypts in the summer. the story progresses to the left from here.
|feeding on button grass in Tasmania
|close up. the bird was dyed in yuzen technique and the mountains behind using katazome.
|Flying north across Bass Strait for the winter. I really enjoyed doing this more abstract section. Its a combination of yuzen, katazome and free hand resist paste techniques.
|I included some topographical outlines
|the birds finally flying back to Tasmania. It’s thought that they travel at night time.
I spent a very long time working on the design for this piece and in the end, whilst I am happy with it as a whole, I can see that I tried to put too much into one work. I’m always aiming for simplicity and some degree of abstraction but it’s a battle against myself and a slow learning process to move away from very tight, small designs. It’s this that I’ll be focusing on in my next work which I am currently doing some experimentation and samples for. Will keep you more updated this time, I promise!