Elizabeth Colbert - '64 Nests'
Wednesday 13 March - Sunday 7 April 2019
Crab holes, tidal silt, mangrove pneumatophores, dark canopies, birds and people; the wetlands of Western Port Bay. These wetlands are shared with migratory wading birds such as the Eastern Curlew which flies annually to Australian shores from Siberia. However, their numbers are diminishing as the wetlands which support their flight path, such as those at Saemangeum, Korea, are drained. As humans have colonised planet Earth to meet their perceived needs, with little regard for the survival of other species, the future of many migratory wading birds has become uncertain.
64 Nests references Elizabeth Colbert’s personal sense of loss at our diminishing bird life. The wheeling flocks of birds she saw as a child are now rarely seen. It reflects her dismay at our hungry commercial disregard for the natural habitats of our planet. It also draws on the creative work of others: the selected lithographs from John Gould’s visit to Australia between 1838-40 in Sue Taylor’s John Gould’s Extinct and Endangered Birds and the poetry of the American poet, Pamela Laskin in The Bonsai Curator. But in particular, the exhibition has been informed by Colbert’s engagement with her suburban environment, remnant fabrics from her childhood home and the wetlands of Tooradin and Phillip Island.