Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird.
Following on from the astronomy and aviation series of the Altitude Project funded by Create NSW and the Blue Mountains City Council City of Arts Trust, ‘Altitude’ returns to the skies with ‘Birdland’ an avian art project.
Curated by Miriam Williamson, four artists were invited to undertake research and develop works in response to the ornithological collections held by the Mount Victoria Museum, and/or the observation of birds in the Blue Mountains World Heritage area.
Artists were selected based on their experience in museology, zoology and/or natural history or having produced work on our relationship with the natural environment. Artists participated in field trips, sound walks, workshops and were given access to the Museum’s bird specimens.
Now in the era of the Anthropocene we are becoming increasingly aware of the impact the acceleration of industry and development is having on the decline of every species (but our own). The inanimate bird specimens in the Museum, many now on the brink of extinction in the wild, are testimony to the fragility of these evolutionary wonders.
The exhibition was opened by Rebecca Dallwitz, Senior Object Conservator of the Australian National Maritime Museum, and ran throughout November 2019 while in the distance columns of smoke were visible from the Wollemi bushfire. The extent of its devastation to the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and its wildlife could not have been foreseen.
We acknowledge that this exhibition was held on the lands of the Gundungurra people with works recorded and documented on these lands and of the Darug and Wiradjuri people.
Birdland was funded by a grant from the Blue Mountains City Council City of Arts Trust and acknowledges the generosity of the Mount Victoria Museum Committee and their team of volunteers, the staff of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Modern Art Projects Blue Mountains (MAPBM) for auspicing the grant.