Pestfree 2050My Battlelines series began with a concern for the fate of our native New Zealand species - that they are being decimated by predators introduced by our forefathers; the rabbit, possum, hedgehog and the rat. By the year 2050 New Zealand has pledged to completely eradicate these animals that have been deemed ‘pest’.
This body of mostly small paintings (A6 postcard sized) represent individual, intimate portraits of single soldiers in a war far greater than themselves. I have attempted to remain impartial, but the titles of some of the small works (Radical Rat, Hoodlum Hedgehog, Hero Huia) reveal my loyalties.
The black and white images are of the fallen. Each an individual portrait making eye contact with the viewer, forever locked within the attributes of an old photograph. They have become mementos of a growing collection; extinct New Zealand native birds - there are, as yet, no extinct predators.
The technicolor paintings depict a landing party typically portrayed each week on the television show Star Trek. They all wear the red uniform of a security detail but have the heads of critically endangered native birds. Their fate is uncertain and their costume holds little hope for their survival without some form of intervention.
“The invasion of predators has reached a tipping point and most of our native birds are at risk, most tragically, the kiwi. If we can lift the scale of predator control to regional landscapes, including communities where people live, which has not been done before, we can win the war.”
Sir Rob Fenwick 2016
Many of these works were completed for NorthArt Galleries. The exhibitions titled: Pocket Edition - Small works for Large Walls and also for the Drawings exhibitions.