This is a painting of the nest of a Northern Fulmar – a few pebbles scraped together so the egg doesn’t fall off the cliff.
I got interested in the Northern Fulmar because of a research study at UBC on the issue of plastics pollution in the oceans, suggesting this species as an “indicator species” (think canary in coal mine.)
I am doing a community-engaged eco-art project at the Vancouver Maritime Museum in September, 2013, where we will create birds from recycled plastic. Check out Bird on the Beach for more information.
I am now also studying the Northern Fulmar in Inuit Legend.
This piece was inspired by a photograph by Sharon Beals in 50 Nests and the Birds That Made Them.
All of the trash was picked up within 2 blocks of my home on a short walk one afternoon.
There is recent research saying birds are putting cigarette butts in their nests and the nicotine works as an insecticide decreasing the mites. But the researchers are quick to add there may be negative consequences as well.
Cigarette butts are the top waste found during the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
People have made art from cigarette butts, and I’m considering it.
My roundabout garden at 6th and Trafalgar in Kitsilano (Vancouver,BC) has recently had its 15 minutes of fame.
First of all, a journalist who lives in the neighbourhood wrote a piece about it and “Mary Whoever-You-Are” (that’s me!). And then CBC TV did a piece for Earth Day featuring myself and fellow Green Streets Gardener Elayne Armstrong (Broadway and Balsam).
But is it art??? you ask.
And yes, I answer, in several ways.
1. Gardening is an art – period.
2. I have a bird art sculpture made for Worldwide Bird Art Installation Day in my garden. Someone has left a metal lizard and a hat for the bird.
3. I also have two artful mason bee houses.
4. Open Source Landscaping – a phrase coined by Oliver Kellhammer to describe a public area where the gardener/artist allows or encourages things to unfold. I’m not as out there as Oliver is and I took out the corn plants that were put in last year.
5. Botanical Intervention – another phrase from Oliver Kellhammer – plants put into an urban setting that “intervenes” in the habitual ways of people.
6. Relational Aesthetics – this little piece of ground encourages relationships. I love the idea that I don’t know all of what happens there and if people know me at all, they know me as “Mary Whoever-You-Are”.
Click the photo at top for the Vancouver Sun article and here for the CBC TV news segment.