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Fools Gold in the homelands - In the shadow of the Magpie

Fools Gold in the homelands - In the shadow of the Magpie

JKing In the shadow of the Magpie.jpg

JKing In the shadow of the magpie glass panel.jpg


Part of 'Fools Gold in the homelands'- Caldera Fellowship winner 2012

'In the shadow of the Magpie'

Everybody sees the Magpie,
many misjudge & fear the magpie,
monogamous, sassy Magpie

Be still, sit quietly,
There are many other birds
in my garden...

what can you find
in the shadow of a Magpie?

This 3 part work includes all 36 birds
identified with delight
in the 1 acre organic
gardens of our home & studio
on the fringes of the Caldera
surrounded on 3 sides by monoculture.

Provide varied trees & foliage,
Cool shallow waters,
Native flowering plants & fruits
No sprays...
Then sit back & watch them come,
They desperately need sanctuary.

Copper-foiled & kiln formed glass,
stainless steel, iron oxide

Fools Gold in the homelands - 2012 Caldera Art Fellowship Recipient - Artist Statement

Before European settlement the Big Scrub Rainforest was the largest continuous expanse of lowland sub-tropical rainforest in Australia. This rainforest occurs on the red soils originating from Mount Warning. The Big Scrub Rainforest covered 75,000 hectares. For thousands of years the Aboriginal people made use of the abundance of food in the Big Scrub rainforest.

Unfortunately since then the Big Scrub Rainforest has been reduced to less than 1% of its original size. The Big Scrub was cleared for agriculture, development and other purposes.
Now only small scattered remnants of Rainforest remain, most are less than five hectares in area. These remnants in total would cover less than 700 hectares in area.

Australia is the world's largest producer of macadamias and has more than 13 million trees in the ground. Australia's macadamia industry is worth nearly $100 million at the farm gate. About 60-70 per cent of Australian macadamias are exported every year – (CSIRO).
The majority of macadamia farms are located in the rich red soils of the Caldera and current gross margin return according to the NSW Dept Primary Industries on a 20ha un-irrigated monoculture orchard at the mature 15 year mark is $4274.57 per hectare @ $2.5kg.
Australians are the highest per capita consumers of macadamia nuts...

How many do you eat?
Would you prefer to walk in the forest?
How much flora & fauna loss is the result of this monoculture?
Do the earthworms know the difference?

'Fools Gold in the homelands' references my own research and experience as an artist whose studio is surrounded by monoculture on the fringes of the Caldera and right next door to the rare remnant Big Scrub Rainforest of Victoria Park via two contemporary glass & steel installation works.

'In the shadow of the Magpie' - speaks of the native bird species adapting to widespread habitat loss and joyfully found nesting, feeding or migrating on our humble patch of land offering organic sanctuary.

'What catches the eye' – speaks to the admiration so many express as they gaze down the cool shaded laneways of these vacuumed landscapes, where gentle light flickering between the evenly hedged branches of green hypnotise and lull into a dangerous comfort.

“Man has generally been preoccupied with obtaining as much 'production' from the landscape as possible, by developing and maintaining early successional types of ecosystems, usually monocultures. But, of course, man does not live by food and fiber alone...many essential life-cycle resources, not to mention recreational and esthetic needs, are best provided man by the less 'productive' landscapes. In other words, the landscape is not just a supply depot but is also the oikos - the home - in which we must live”.

Eugene Pleasants Odum (1913-2002) Ecologist & Ornithologist

Images by R.J.Poole

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27181 Fools Gold in the homelands - In the shadow of the Magpie
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