Kangaroo Island & Birds of Extinction

Emma Lindsay 2013, Dwarf kangaroo island emu (extinct), Oil on linen, 121 (w) x 149 (h). Photo: Elouise .

I recently met the lovely and talented Brisbane-based artist, Emma Lindsay through fellow PhD student and birdwoman, Melissa Ashley (whose forthcoming novel, The Birdman’s Wife, about Elizabeth Gould, is a must read).

I stumbled across Emma’s work while writing my novel, Nest, and again while researching my PhD in Australian nature writing, and then again while researching the extinct dwarf emu for an upcoming writing retreat to Kangaroo Island (Emma’s striking portrait of the dwarf emu is pictured above). So when Emma – and one of her paintings – were at Melissa’s post-Phd party, I was not surprised.

Emma’s Extinction Project began in 2007 as a series of portraits of endangered and extinct Australian bird specimens held in natural history museums. Her interest is in human relationships (historical and contemporary) with the environment, and bearing witness to the escalating global problem of mass species extinction.

It’s a concern I share, but the works are exquisite in their own right, and I was thrilled to discover that the first public exhibition of Emma Lindsay’s Extinction Project will be held in Brisbane next year as part of the inaugural World Science Festival Brisbane, 9-13 March, at the Queensland Museum.

© Emma Lindsay 2012, Paradise Parrots (extinct), oil on Belgian linen. Private collection. Photo: Carl Warner.

Trouble is, that’s when I’ll be in Kangaroo Island, looking for evidence of dwarf emus in situ … So unless I can kid Emma and The Museum to let me in while they are setting up, it looks like I am going to miss out.

Do get along if you can, not only for Emma’s works. This will be the first time the World Science Festival has been held outside New York City. The festival brings together great minds in science and the arts to show the wonders of science to a broad general audience.

If you’d rather come along to Kangaroo Island for an immersion in writing and place, you can find out more here.

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