Thea Katauskas’ installation of bird sculptures has grown out of an awareness of our changing environment in both North America and Australia. Increasing reports of animal species facing extinction due to pollution, pesticide use, habitat loss and climate change indicate that the biodiversity and function of our ecosystems is under threat. In 2019 the journalSciencepublished a study showing the loss of 29% of North American birdlife since 1970, and the devastating 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia have resulted in drastic habitat loss in our region.
Katauskas’ response to this loss has been to create stoic bird creatures, celebrating the extraordinary uniqueness and variety of birdlife. The wall-mounted birds are a reflection of the thousands of species we may not yet even be aware of. They are displayed here only as imagined, remnant scientific specimens, discovered before the human world has had the time to appreciate them. The standing birds are keeping watch against the rising tide. All the birds are somewhat anthropomorphic, wearing cloaks of importance and decorative jewels, indicating a status and recognition awarded to these remarkable individuals.
Katauskas invites us to think of the birds for a moment and appreciate them all for the movement, energy, colour and song they still bring to our cities and forests.
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