41 cacatitho (little cockatoo), Cockatiel, 2014, Joanna Kambourian (1)

Cacatitho (little cockatoo), 2014, Four colour screenprint, Joanna Kambourian

Prose: Cockatiel Lost by Nicki Laws
Music: Cockatiel by Damien Ricketson on Musical Saw.
Audio compilation and Mixing by Boyd.

Bird species:  41
Artist:  Joanna Kambourian (Lismore, NSW, Australia)
Writer:  Nicki Laws (Kingsthorp, Qld, Australia)
Musician:  Damien Ricketson (Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Cockatiel Lost

The old man opened the cage and his bird stepped carefully onto my hand. It looked serious, a drooped wing and firm bony swelling of the humerus. A tumour, most likely.

Bobby returned the next day for surgery. He was a chatty bird and entertained us during the morning. As he was masked down with the anaesthetic gas he was still talking. ‘My name is Bobby and I live at Flat 3, Long St,’ he said, repeating his phone number.

Bobby‘s tumour grew quickly. I could not help shedding tears with his kind owner weeks later as we talked over his poor prognosis.

Bobby was a grey cockatiel, like the wild variety found at Bimblebox. In the wild they are gregarious social birds. They rely on seeding grasses, found in open patches in woodlands.

I have never forgotten Bobby, who was a pet and caged, but was loved and cared for. Just like the wild cockatiels of Bimblebox.

As custodians of our wild species habitat preservation is our duty. If the grasslands and tree hollows go birds are effectively homeless. They cannot shout their address when lost. They don’t have people to cry for them.

Or do they?

©Nicki Laws BVSc, MACVSC, PhD
Nov 2014

Cockatiel call description supplied to musician Damien Ricketson:
High far carrying rolling cweeree. (Simpson and Day)

Joanna Kambourian, Artist Statement:
“The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.”

An extract from the poem Caged Bird by Maya Angelou (provided by Joanna Kambourian)

Artist biography:
Joanna Kambourian is an Australian born designer, printmaker and multi-dimensional visual artist of Armenian American heritage.

Throughout her creative practice, Kambourian explores, experiences and examines the idea of ‘hybrid hyphenations’ within contemporary cultural and social identity.

Through a variety of mediums, digital prints, serigraphy, and 3D works, Joanna explores motifs, imagery, ideas and crafts typically from Armenian Culture; re-represented in a more familiar, current context.

Weaving, craft and graphic patterns feature strongly in her recent works, alongside stories of imagined ‘heroines’ from Armenian Folklore, told through re-appropriated images, deliberately obscured, concealed and distorted.

Her work continues to document an ongoing journey, a search for identity and belonging from a multicultural perspective that crosses generations and encompasses the diasporic experience. Her work illustrates this complex heritage through a multi disciplinary practice. (from Ms Browns Lounge website)

Writer Biography:
Nicki Laws was a vet, farmer, wife, mother and textile artist who lived near Kingsthorpe on the Darling Downs. Much of her art practice was informed by the environment, including impacts of mining on community and biodiversity of neighbouring farmland such as Acland.  Nicki passed away in 2018.

Musician Biography:
Damien Ricketson studied composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with renowned Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Damien lived and worked in the Netherlands and Poland and completed IRCAM’s computer music course at the Pompidou Centre in Paris before completing his PhD at the Sydney Conservatorium in 2007.

In 1995 Damien co-founded Ensemble Offspring, a Sydney-based arts company dedicated to innovative new music, and was co-artistic director until 2015. Much of Damien’s music written for Ensemble Offspring has received critical recognition through their performances. His works have also been performed by many national and international soloists, ensembles and orchestras including MusikFabrik (Germany), Ensemble Plus Minus (UK/Belgium), Crash Ensemble (Ireland), the Orfeuz Chamber Orchestra (Poland), 175 East & Stroma (New Zealand), Drumming Grupo de Percussão (Portugal), the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the Sydney Alpha Ensemble, Libra Ensemble, the Grainger Quartet, Continuum Sax, Speak Percussion and piano soloist Zubin Kanga.
Read more here.  (from University of Sydney website)
Damien Ricketson website