FLIGHT FROM SILENCE
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Opening Tuesday May 12th 2015
Opening Speaker Dr Julie Cotter
Artist talk 2pm Saturday May 16th
Exhibition runs May 12th – 30th, 2015
Please download the Exhibition Information Catalogue here
by Lisa Sewards
This body of work is an extension of my White Parachute exhibition held at fortyfivedownstairs in July 2013. Consistent with the theme of my White Parachute exhibition, these new works included in “Flight from Silence” also draw on memories during wartime.
My focus however has now shifted from the personal human element to a group of little-known heroes of the war, that is the homing Pigeons of Europe and Australia.
These birds have a long history of service during wartime action, as far back as when news of Napoleon’s defeat reached England by carrier Pigeon well before horsemen arrived. Thus the call up of the Pigeons as a pivotal point in the reflections of war should not be surprising.
The story of War Pigeons and in particular the subjects of my new body of work, being the 32 Pigeons awarded medal for WW2 service, is one of remarkable bravery, with their delivered messages contributing towards saving countless lives during WW2.
Always interested in the symbolic power of birds, my interest led to research into the thirty-two Pigeons, which form the focus of my current works. Two of these are Australian, they have been taxidermied, and they currently reside at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
I have attempted to poetically yet playfully recapture their unique names, service numbers and stories within a wide range of mediums including paintings and works on paper that incorporate contemporary and traditional printmaking applications … images in which these medal recipients and the elements of this historic period co-exist.
The large scaled paintings reflect the vast night skies that the Pigeons crossed. These make a stark contrast to the works on paper, of silent and cold forest imagery; forests from where and into which they made their daring journeys. To honour these little creatures, small individual etchings, drypoints and monoprints, form a heroic tribute wall.
The use of Drop Parachutes is to acknowledge their importance in combination with the Pigeons. They were used in WW2 to deliver items such as medical supplies and mail, and some Pigeons made landfall via such transport. In the installation of vintage drop parachutes the avian and wartime experience of flight, risk and valour subtly converge.
Exhibition in situ
photographs taken in situ by Owen Bowditch Photography