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THE GREAT BOWERBIRD, VALERIE RESTARICK

The Great bowerbird explores the themes of home and embellishment, with its contraries of displacement and minimalism. The four small nests are concurrently naïve representations of sanctuary and stark statements of loneliness. These weave their way toward the bowerbird that is poised on a fifth overturned nest. The symbolism of this inversion can be first interpreted as a loss, but in its undoing the vestiges of its protective lining become the launching place for the bowerbird. The soft curves of this lattice ceramic piece initially seem like a fragile framework. Poised just above eye-level, the curvature of this piece resembles the stretching of wings before the moment of flight. The cobalt tones in the exhibit are redolent of the blue objects favoured by the bowerbirds. The male birds use these to create unique and intricate nests to attract a mate. Despite constructing his entire nest in this colour, the bowerbird was unable to find a companion. As he prepares to relinquish the site of his lineage and community, he balances precariously on the lining from his nest. The viewer is then left to wonder about the uncertainty of his next phase in the final tentative moment before flight. Like the bowerbird, the concepts and materials for this artwork were gathered from the artist’s immediate community. The work is also reflective of her interest in our connection to the environment, and the effects and impetus of migration.