- Acrylic on fabric wallpaper
- Purchased with the assistance of the Christchurch Art Gallery Trust and the Friends of the Christchurch Art Gallery, 2004/5
- 1370 x 1320mm
Writing in 1770 from on board the ship Endeavour, anchored 400 metres off the Marlborough coast, botanist Joseph Banks described the dawn chorus of Aotearoa as a “melodious wild musick” that started an hour or two after midnight and lasted until sunrise. It’s an image far removed from this limp, silent assembly-line of shags, which have been killed, identified and readied for stuffing to satisfy the insatiable appetites of Victorian collectors a world away. Birds often stand in for nature in Bill Hammond’s paintings. Here, their piled-up bodies bear witness to the waves of extinction that have followed human occupation here over the last 650 years – and to our willingness to destroy what we most admire.
(Absence, May 2023)