Who could disagree that Australian ecosystems are very special? My photo of this White Backed Fairy-wren in central NSW last month tells it all, he seems to scream ‘I Exist’.
Not far from where I live in Melbourne, Victoria, are the last few Orange Bellied Parrots, and I mean few. The only four birds left to make the crossing from Tasmania to mainland Australia for winter (these parrots are one of three of earth’s migratory parrots another being the Australian Swift parrot which is also endangered).
Most people have no idea these creatures exist or would care, a freeway passes the parrot’s winter foraging place and thousands of cars roar past the place each day. How many of those drivers know what they are passing?
Leading Australian scientists tell us our special ecosystems are in a state of collapse https://theconversation.com/great-barrier-reef-bleaching-is-just-one-symptom-of-ecosystem-collapse-across-australia-58579
Ecology CAN make a change, without it there would likely be no Rhinos, Elephants or National Parks. People can also create change, but this requires political will. The Great Australian Silence (the National ability to turn our backs on the big questions) has to be overcome.
“Country”and that includes our seas, need very special treatment. It’s what we all rely on to provide the water, oxygen, food and recycling of waste and chemicals used daily without a thought. It’s also the thing which sequestrates the Co2 we are pumping into the air and which is causing Climate Change.
Lets put our money where it’s really needed, not into more war machines.“Don’t tell me what you value; show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” – US Vice President Joe Biden
Please go to https://www.facebook.com/peter.forward.52 to follow my artwork and visual diary.
And there’s other reasons to discourage cat ownership..
Predators are disappearing world-wild, including from our seas. On land this can have unforseen effects. The left diagram below is what we have done, and the right is what the science suggests we should do. The problem is these decisions would effect on-farm income.
However agriculture and conservation can work together. Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus in arid South Australia released 4 threatened study mammals from feral predation. The result was the 4 species’ removal from the IUCN Red list.
So next time you see a spider or cockroach in your cupboard remember your own actions and decisions also have consequenses.
The show is currently showing at Geelong Performing Arts Centre and will tour Canberra and Melbourne in coming months. See details here.
Redstitch Theatre & GPAC have bravely and successfully launched the extinction theme into the public arena, something which desperately needs to happen if change is to take place in this country.
Director Nadia Tass said in an after show ‘question and answer’ that the large production houses had not shown interest which doesn’t surprise me. Extinction as a theme is certainly not in the public mind so it would not be considered a commercial proposition, but from my observation if any arts production can do this, this show will. It was beautifully timed and crafted and almost filmic in style using computer generated graphics projected as a backdrop. This kept the audience aware of what was happening in the forest simultaneously with phone screen events or even skyped international callers.
Driving back to Melbourne I thought how easily the play could be made as a movie production for a wider audience.
I’ve been thinking along the lines of the writers and producers of this work for some time so it was great to see artists putting up their hands and taking the necessary risks.
Yesterday just for fun, I uploaded a photo of my cardboard ‘Phascogale’ to my Facebook page and it was ID’d from the artwork from a friend. Here’s what the animal looks like, although this is a red-tailed Phascogale from WA. Both of these small carnivores are declining.
And here’s my sculptural Phascogale on a cardboard ‘log’. I often leave raw (recycled) cardboard because it makes the connection to the cardboard/paper/packaging industry and our insatiable need to buy new stuff.
This work is part of ‘Departure Lounge” and will be seen at;
The G.R.A.I.N. Store exhibition in Nathalia. Opening Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean curator and writer and Honorary Associate of the Museum Victoria. Kean has written extensively about the representation of nature in Australian museums. He has also published extensively on Indigenous art and was Art Advisor at Papunya Tula Artists in the late 1970s.
After much time and effort I managed to get most of the fluffy tail cut and assembled..
I use fresh box cutter blades and use cardboard which I has one layer of paper carefully removed by wetting the surface. Then its time to crank up the ipod.
I have given the tail a trim and blow-wave to settle the ‘fur’. I will come back to this at a more finished stage.
Details such as ears claws and eyes bring the piece to life. It’s best to use plastic pegs to clamp surfaces together, they don’t stick to PVA glue.
Throughout the process I look at ways to achieve a natural posture for the species, note the change of angle.
I will post more progress photos in the coming weeks.
Petaurus norfolcensis (endangered in Victoria) will become part of an installation to be seen at: The G.R.A.I.N. Store, Nathalia and will be opened Sunday June 19th, 2016 4pm by John Kean https://www.australianbookreview.com.au/about/author/1170-johnkean
My last 2 weeks have been educational both for me and the arts community in Nathalia, (Yorta Yorta country) Northern Victoria. Meeting and working with US artist Bill Kelly OAM https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kelly_(artist) was a privilege.
His wealth of experience and understanding of the role of the arts in communities and his establishment of THE G.R.A.I.N. STORE (Growing Rural Art In Victoria) http://www.thegrainstore.org/ added hugely to the value of my residency.
Ancient red-gums of Barmah
Ancient Barmah remnant Red-gums inspired this installation piece:
together with Superb Parrots by pre-schoolers:
some of which I saw on the Broken Creek and known as “Green Leeks”in the Nathalia district. Unfortunately green leeks are becoming a difficult to find species due to loss of food/nesting trees. I noticed large paddock trees ‘still being burnt in the area south of Picola, prime box eucalypt food habitat for Polytelis swainsonii. The recent trend by croppers to implement overhead spray irrigation means large paddock trees are being destroyed by the thousands (bush poet, indigenous plant seeding expert,Tammy Muir https://twitter.com/logiemuir)
Sculptured Green Leeks (by pre-schoolers) at their cardboard “hollow”.
A combined artist/community exhibition will take place at THE G.R.A.I.N STORE in June 2016.
We have been in residence at Nathalia Grainstore now for one and a half weeks and our redgum (which had to be finished before the weekend due to size limitations) is well on the way.
CARDBOARD GLUE GESSO AND PAINT PLUS LOTS OF EFFORT.
Tomorrow is another day and we will be seeing 20 pre-schoolers who will be making superb parrots which will be included in the final installation. Superb parrots are a rare and diminishing species and this part of the country is major habitat, red gums near water seem to be a favourite place for them to find nesting hollows.
Local lad and workshop participant Ian Bolton heads off with his masterpiece. However not everyone sees benefit in maintaining species and habitat..
THIS IS A HAPPY LITTLE SIGN WE GET TO READ EVERY MORNING ON OUR WAY INTO TOWN.
I could not have achieved what I have without the help of my partner and lover Heather, who has shown her graphic skills are still up to par.
Three days remain for my residency and still so much to do. Exhibition is scheduled for June.
My residency in Nathalia ended its first week with a sculpture workshop which invited community members to a hands-on cardboard art-making day.
I thought I had asked too much of my participants initially, but they proved up to the task as the day went on and we had some very promising results by days end.
Internationally known artist Bill Kelly attended and kindly spent much of his day assisting with any creative problems which occurred, I am indebted to him.
Fun was had by all and it proves serious subjects can be approached in a light-hearted and friendly manner.
Getting a 2d material into a 3d shape is often not easy but my workshop participants approached the problems with an enthusiasm, wonderful to see.
Drying in the intense sun at day’s end were little creature beginnings….
and their ‘tree’ hollow homes.
With another week to go who knows what will eventuate? Our collaborative exhibition will take place in June so the heat will soon be on to get some finished work ready for showing.
I am currently working on a community-based arts project which aims to increase public awareness and ecological response to species/habitat declines in the Goulburn/Broken/ Barmah system.
The Grainstore Community Arts Centre is sponsering my 2 week residency which so far has been amazing.
Philippa Schapper (left) has been wonderful, and Heather my partner has offered to help with some 2D works.
So far I have the beginnings of a Squirrel Glider, a species special to this part of Victoria and…
…. a River Red Gum, the majestic and iconic Australian water-course tree. Unfortunately most of the old trees have been destroyed in years past as part of forestry practice and many ancient ringbarked stumps are in evidence.
My residency will I hope shed some light on the importance of hollows and the need to retain what ancient trees remain.
Katrina who is visiting from Greece (centre) was amazed by the light and primeaval look of the forest at Hutt Lake on dusk.
to be continued…soon.