Bevan Smith: Saving Our Species - New Zealand Birds

Emerging artist Bevan Smith returns to the Depot after his successful exhibition Animal Portraits in March 2016, with an exceptional new series of life-like graphite pencil drawings of lesser-known endangered New Zealand birds.

Saving Our Species: New Zealand Birds is Smith’s singular effort to provide a visual education for a serious conservation issue, by shining the spotlight on New Zealand’s less iconic birds facing the threat of extinction.

New Zealand has 168 native bird species, 93 of which are endemic – this means they are found nowhere else in the world. The United Kingdom in comparison has one endemic bird species.

Currently, a third of all native birds are in serious trouble and nearly half face some trouble according to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment report*, Taonga of an island nation: Saving New Zealand’s birds released in May 2017.

Smith’s timely exhibition addresses the desperate situation for New Zealand native birds, due to the introduction of pests. Saving Our Species will also include visual interpretations of extinct birds, inviting the audience to contemplate the possibility of a native bird-less Aotearoa.

“My love of animals and art dates back to my early childhood with frequent visits to the zoo where I would sketch a variety of zoo animals. This affection for both subjects has only strengthened through trips to South Africa and Borneo where I would continue to observe and capture animals on paper.

I completed my degree in Applied Science: Animal Welfare and Management in 2016 and it sparked in me an interest in conservation. I specialise in graphite pencil drawings as I find it an effective medium for demonstrating great detail. Pencil is especially good for subject matter where there is little detail on the background and an obvious focus on the subject”.

Saving Our Species will showcase different sized works to demonstrate the diversity of New Zealand birds, accompanied by detailed descriptions of each species and the subsequent threat to its habitat and/or existence. This exhibition is kindly supported by Forest and Bird.

Formed in 1923, Forest and Bird was originally established to protect our native forests and birds, our role has been extended in recent years to include protection of all native species and wild places – on land and in our oceans, lakes and rivers.

Saving Our Species opens on Saturday 2 December, 2:00pm alongside the Wilson Family’s show Drawn to Paint.

*http://www.pce.parliament.nz/our-work/news-insights/native-birds-in-desperate-situation-says-environment-commissioner

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