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
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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.