It’s a wrap: ‘Extinction project’, 9-13 March at World Science Festival Brisbane 2016, Queensland Museum.

A huge thank you to all the people who visited the Extinction project at the Queensland Museum last week!

Early statistics indicate 114,000 visitors came to the 5 day festival, with 62,000 people passing through the museum during the World Science Festival Brisbane 2016, and science advocates like Sylvia Earle, Brian Greene, and Alan Alda wandered past the ‘On a wing’ program while I was there. The 5 days offered live taxidermy demonstrations, the chance to view a real extinct Paradise parrot specimen alongside John Gould’s original ‘Birds of Australia’ folio page of the parrot, and offered a rare chance to glimpse field collector John Gilbert’s original journal made to help Gould’s folio project.  ‘On a wing’ and the baby turtle hatchlings were popular activities with visitors. The QM photos can be seen at this link if you are on Facebook:

At the conclusion of the Festival, the Extinction project works were assessed onsite for my practice-led research PhD with RMIT, Melbourne. The foyer works form part of my Extinction flock or ‘Archive paintings’. Upstairs in the secure research archive my ‘Black paintings’ were hidden amongst the collection storage cabinets, the Archive photographs book ‘Fieldwork’ (2013)  and a video of my process ‘Fieldtrip’ (2013) were displayed as part of the examination. Festival visitors did not get to see these restricted areas, and so they are reproduced below fyi.

My sincere thanks to the World Science Festival Brisbane 2016 organisers, staff, and all of the staff of the Queensland Museum. A very special thanks to Heather Janetzki who went above and beyond to make this exhibition happen and for her assistance to the examiners. Thanks also to David Forrest and RMIT for agreeing to examine this project at the QM, and to my supervisors Linda Williams and Dominic Redfern for working with me to get this project to conclusion over the last 4 years.

The Extinction project was made as a means to share my privileged museum archive views of extinct bird specimens with the Australian public. The sheer number of visitors to the QM has made this goal come true. Thank you again to all who visited and supported this project, whether in person or online.

Please note: There were a number of enquiries re: whether these works were for sale at the Festival. The Extinction project works will not be available for sale individually. It is my intention to keep the 29 Australian extinct birds together, and to find them a home in a public institutional collection so that they will remain accessible for the Australian public. For institutions interested in this collection, please contact Bruce Heiser at Heiser Gallery.

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P.S. So many of the children took one look at the photos and paintings and just had to draw. As promised, the gallery of drawings that were either left as a gift for me or photographed, are below. A big thanks to the parents and kids who stopped by- keep up the good work! (Remember- drawing is a skill that improves with practice, just like maths and reading…squiggles and mistakes can lead to big discoveries! Don’t give up if you love it).

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