AIR BORN and NEST: The Art of Birds

KRohde_Crystalised MenagerieAIR BORN and NEST: The Art of Birds celebrate the life of birds and illuminate aspects of their often-overlooked intricate and beautiful existence.

Curated by Penny Teale, AIR BORN brings together the work of 18 contemporary artists who through their varying artistic disciplines are inspired by birds, either as subject or who emulate through their work aspects of avian habitats and rituals.

Birds have played a vivid role in the conceptual and spiritual life of many cultures. The selected works are intended to provoke exploration of cultural traditions and symbols to unravel varying ideas surrounding the bird and our interaction with them.

The featured artists are: Maria Fernanda Cardoso & Ross Rudesh Harely, Marian Drew, Anne Ferran, Ricardo Idagi, Rahel Kngwarriya Ungwanaka, Martin King, Noel McKenna, Lindy Panangka Rontji, Judith Pungarta Inkamala, Ben Quilty, Nusrat Latif Qureshi, Kate Rohde, Kylie Stillman, Louise Weaver, Christine Wrest-Smith, John Wolseley and Gali Yalkarriwuy Gurruwiwi.

NEST: The Art of Birds curated by Dr Janine Burke explores the beauty, ingenuity and originality of birds’ nests – from Magpies to Thornbills, from Chaffinches to Honeyeaters, and Wrens to Weavers.

Sourced from the collection of Museum Victoria, and from the private collection of Gay Bilson, 80 nests in total, these exquisite constructions reveal the lives and habits of our closest wild neighbours. They tell the story of birds’ survival and their adaptation to our ecologically fragile planet. This exhibition invites audiences to connect with nature and to observe nests in all their resourcefulness, diversity and elegance.

“Can only humans make art?”  says Dr Janine Burke. “Having studied thousands of nests at Museum Victoria, the Natural History Museum London and also in the wild, I think some birds some have evolved an aesthetic sense, a sense we share with them.”

“What we appreciate visually, so do they. Some birds decorate their nests with feathers, glass or ribbons which seem to have no purpose other their attractiveness to the eye.”

The Fledgling Room is a special space people of all ages are invited to create bird inspired ephemera to contribute to a special installation. This installation will develop over the duration of the exhibition and encourages reflection on the beauty of birds and how they enrich our lives.

AIR BORN and NEST: The Art of Birds
McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery – McClelland Drive, Langwarrin
Exhibition continues to 6 October 2013

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Kate Rohde Crystalised Menagerie 2009 mixed media 120.0 x 120.0 x 85.0cm Image courtesy of the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery (Photograph by Graham Baring)