Stewart’s exhibit On the Brink will feature acrylic paintings of Australian birds and earthscapes inspired by her home nation. “While I was preparing for my current New York exhibit, which features American birds threatened by climate change, I couldn’t stop thinking about the birds of my homeland,” Stewart said. “As I created paintings for my show, I was inspired to do the same for the birds I grew up listening to each morning in Australia.”
Stewart is one of 68 international artists, including three other Australians, who were selected to paint large scale bird murals on buildings in New York City. In September 2014, the Audubon Society released its Birds and Climate Change Report, a comprehensive study that compiles decades of observations from thousands of birdwatchers along with detailed climate data models to estimate the current and future habitats of 588 bird species throughout the United States and Canada. Of the 588-bird species studied, a total of 314 are threatened and 126 of the species are classified as “climate endangered.”
“When I heard about the mural project as a resource to inform the public about the dismal findings of the report, I just couldn’t stand by and do nothing,” Stewart said. “I immediately reached out to the project sponsors and submitted sketches of endangered baby birds feeding with their parents which I thought would work perfectly on the external wall of a pediatrician’s office just steps away from my apartment.
“While I was doing research for the mural project and for the birds I painted for my current show, I learned about the organization, Birdlife Australia,” Stewart said. “Working on my computer late one night I discovered Birdlife Australia had compiled a list of threatened Australian bird species. I decided the next morning to start painting some of the birds on their list. With my first brush stroke I decided I wanted to bring the paintings home to Australia.”
Stewart will be at Percolator Gallery Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4:30pm during the dates of her exhibit. In addition to the Australian birds, Stewart will exhibit paintings of other Australian treasures she believes to be on the brink of dramatic change.
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