What is the purpose of art? Where does its power lie? The answer to such questions vary depending on one’s state of mind– sanguine, cynical or pragmatic. Regardless of what the answers maybe, my favourite ongoing art project is ‘Ghostsof Gone Birds’. Over 200 artists, writers and musicians attempt to breath life into birds long gone (in large part due to human actions) so that other living birds that are under threat may survive. A part of the profit from the sale of the original art works and 50% of royalties from the book are donated to critical bird conservation efforts worldwide.
|The book: a visual record of the four exhibitions|
|The Snail-Eating Coua, Chris Harrendence (left) and Brace's Emerald, Victoria Billet (top right)|
|Another rendition of the Snail-Eating Coua, Brandon Lodge|
|Margaret Atwood's knitted Great Auk|
Last recorded sighting in 1852, the Great Auk once common in the waters of North Atlantic was important to Native Americans both as food and a cultural symbol. Used as fish bait and hunted for its beak, skin and feathers the species became extinct from the face of the earth, despite late efforts to save the birds.
|Not just illustrations, even words bear witness to the silenced voices|
When Ralph Steadman was asked to contribute one work of art, he, in what comes as no surprise, provided a book full of 'Extinct Boids', an illustrated record of extinct and imaginary birds in his inimitable style. The result is this book:
campaign against plume-hunting that lead to the establishment of RSPB– the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. (In the US it lead to the declaration of the first wildlife refuge, Pelican Island in Florida.)
How a Bird is Born
One minute there is an egg, the next there is a boid!
One big push and an inky shake of its plumage, and a boid is boin!
|How a Bird is Born|
|Real and Imagined Boids, 240 pages of them|
For more about Extinct Boids click here.