THE BIRDS OF AUSTRALIA

A response to a bookmark which showed a painting of Rose-Bill Parakeets from John Gould's book The Birds of Australia


This work is a response to a bookmark found in an Op Shop book. The bookmark showed a painting of Rose-bill Parakeets from John Gould’s The Birds of Australia. Published 150 years ago, this series of books contains over 3000 beautiful illustrations of birds. The world has changed dramatically, however, and many of the birds depicted may be facing extinction. This work embodies this threat by utilising a discarded axe head and found feathers, discovering a new existence and meaning for them, thus asking the viewer to consider concepts that dispute the duality between human and non-human, animate and inanimate. It aims to help breakdown perceptions requiring that things exist as either us or the other, rather that all things exist on multiple levels simultaneously. By seeing ourselves as being part of the world rather than separate to it, living in it rather than on it, perhaps we can begin to take greater care and the future for both ourselves and these beautiful birds will be brighter. Otherwise, we may find that the only record we will have of the existence of the birds of Australia are the images created by John Gould.