Artist Fiona Pardington talks about her work Ake Ake Huia 1995 which features in the exhibition Fiona Pardington: A Beautiful Hesitation, on show at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from 5 March – 19 June 2016.
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Audio and transcripts available in English and Mandarin.
Video available in New Zealand Sign Language.
Audio transcript (English)
The Canterbury Museum has an amazing collection of taxidermied Huia – it’s a very sad thing to open up a great big metal cabinet and see so many Huia, but that’s part of my job, is to look at things that are extinct and talk about the uncomfortable things. I hadn’t considered that I would take this photograph initially, it was more of a sideline photograph. I had gone in to photograph a profile of a particularly beautiful female Huia that had been caught in the 1880s, she had a very long beak and it’s a well-known work now. This was something that I did right at the end – people have said that it looks like a Victorian woman’s dress, a black mourning dress I thought. If you look at the end of the feathers you can see that they’re slowly being worm away, for me that’s the beginning of the end, because the peculiar thing about taxidermied birds in museums, that I don’t think that Buller thought about, was that in the end, because there’re organic matter, they are just going to fall into dust.
Audio transcript (Mandarin)