In The Interior, a moa, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest flightless bird, lies surrounded by a group of native and endemic bird species, some extinct like the moa, others endangered. Their minimal forms are distinctly polished and abstracted by the process of digital modelling, by casting and carving, yet their life-size offers a fantastical experience of lands once richly populated by avian life.
By titling his work The Interior, Sorawit Songsataya seeks to invert our relationship with non-human species. He reminds us of humanity’s often fraught relationship with the natural world which is typically defined by ‘the outside’ or by remoteness. It is these oppositions in language and culture that the artist explores, drawing together an artificial community inside the Gallery on its indoor-outdoor sculpture court.
Prompted by the recent discovery of moa footprints in the Maniototo, Songsataya also makes reference to the painting by Trevor Lloyd, Te Tangi o Te Moa, 1907, in the Gallery’s collection, in which a cluster of forest birds bid farewell to the ‘last moa’. The birds in The Interior are intended to reflect the spectrum of our relationship with the natural world, from the ornamental to a desire for intimacy and knowledge.
Image 1. Sorawit Songsataya, The Interior, 2019, (installation detail), fibreglass, polyester resin, acrylic lacquer, Oamaru stone.
Image 2. Trevor Lloyd, Te tangi o te moa, 1907.Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, bequest of Miss Connie Lloyd.
- Curated by
- Natasha Conland
- North Terrace, Level 2
Artist talk: Sorawit Songsataya