This February I will be hosting my solo exhibition, Dancing with Happy Feet at Art Post Uki.
This is a little bit about the exhibition and what inspired me to paint the booby.
The exhibition’s open night is Thursday 27th Feb 630pm local time. Wine, cheese, music and street food. It is going to be a hoot. Come along!
Recently I was introduced to the enigmatic Blue-footed Booby by a born and bred Galapagos Islander.
The incredible birds habitat the east coast of the Pacific Ocean with over half of its breeding couples being found on Galapagos Islands.
The word “booby” comes from the Spanish word “clown” or “stupid” which is funny when you see the delightful birds staggering around, making whistling sounds as they dive deep for their catch and just being birds in general!
The marine bird only returns to land to lay eggs and nurture it’s young. By natural selection the male and females select each other based on the vibrancy of the blue hue of the other bird’s feet.
Believed to be blue from carotenoids arrived by eating a diet mostly of sardines, the blue feet depict the health of the bird. Females seek out “bluer” males as they do their elaborate, spectacular, swaying mating dance and males seek our (brighter footer) younger females to breed with.
The birds are one of the only species that can stagger laying their eggs. They can stretch out the birth of their offspring by laying eggs over a few days. For this reason the bird has been studied about its sibling hierarchy and adaption rules.
The egg itself will change colour to match the earth surrounding it!
Unfortunately, in recent years, the numbers of this fascinating bird are diminishing.
In 1997 it was estimated that 20,000 birds lived on the Galapagos Islands with that number dropping markedly in 2012, to be only 6400 birds. The current train of thought and research indicates that it is due to a drop off in sardine supply.
The demise of the booby is everyone’s issue. This is our planet, shared with other humans and other animals, and plant species. We need to do our best to prevent erosion, warming and extinction of many species currently under threat.
Raising awareness of the colourful birds is one way to engage children (and adults) to become involved in the planet we live upon. To consider the delicate nature of equilibrium nature has established over millennia and how our footprint needs to be lighter.
We all need to minimise waste, stop using plastic and above all, become aware of animals under threat and take positive action.
Dancing with Joy
Blue-footed boobies have the capacity to stagger the delivery of their eggs and hatch. Because of this unusual characteristic the birds have been studied for the sibling behaviours. The eldest will eat first and when food is scarce, or the oldest bird loses 20% of it’s body weight the mother will stop feeding the other birds in preference to the eldest one. This bird is elated at her newly hatched offspring, dancing for joy and eager to see it’s delightful tiny blue feet.
Amongst the haze of life two birds seemingly vanishing examine their brood. The Blue-footed booby is one of the many bird species currently in decline globally. Many are choking from the inside out due to plastic ingested into their delicate bodies. The blue-footed booby appears to be declining due to very low sardine levels, their main food. And yet their primal urge to breed is strong. What will the world hold for the delicate new hatching”
Two Blue-footed boobies stoop their faces not sure of their future. Oblivious to global warming, to our oceans being fished out, they simply know that times are tough. They make decisions not to breed. They don’t who will defend them, who will feed them, how will they survive. They are stuck in contemplation.