Mortuus Merula 'Death of a Songbird' Exhibition

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Artwork Title: 
Mortuus Merula 'Death of a Songbird'
Artwork Size: 
2016. h:56.5cms x w:71cms (framed).
Artwork description: 
I found this perfectly exquisite blackbird lying dead in an alleyway, so I made the ink drawings directly and quickly from the body onto separate sheets of paper. To the right of the drawing lies the blackbird. I wanted to honour the beauty of the blackbird’s song so I have surrounded him with sources of music. I used my little childhood toy plastic songbird in a cage: the bird ‘sang’ if you moved the handle up and down. There is a yellow toy birdsong whistle and a vintage 50’s musical clockwork birdcage that plays birdsong while revolving and lighting up. Finally, there is an songbird (I think it is a Black Hooded Oriole, drawn from an antique taxidermy specimen) which flies free of any cage and pulls my childhood spinning musical tin toy behind it. There are many wonderful folklore narratives woven around blackbirds and after reading various tales, imagining images and listening to its song, I drew my own stories about this beautiful bird by adding drawings of objects from my own collections alongside the original studies of the blackbird.
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