Birds have long been recognized as the indicators of environmental change, and are effectively the canaries in the coalmine when it comes to climate change. The idiom canaries in the coalmine refers to the practice of mineworkers taking cages of singing canaries into the mines with them to forewarn the miners of poisonous gasses that have been released. The moment the incessant singing of the birds would stop, the mineworkers would leave the shaft. Climate change is having an impact on the migration patterns of birds.
This in turn is threatening their existence and having a major impact on various ecosystems. Solastalgia, eco-paralysis, global dread and soliphilia, are all concepts pioneered by the environmental philosopher, Glenn Albrecht, and refer to the relationship between ecological health and mental health. According to these theories an increase in human depression, psychosomatic illnesses and stress disorders is all linked to our planets’ ecology.
The work included in this exhibition, with its birds, clouds and flower and plant-like forms may appear to be uplifting. On closer inspection, however, it reveals more disquieting aspects. The images include dead birds, and where they are depicted alive they are either tumbling backwards or fighting in flight; tied up in thread, or spinning round in what resembles broken cogs of wheels. The clouds seem to be pinned and tied down; the birdcage empty of birds – indicators that all is not as it should be.