A Pattern of Extinction


In 1855 Sir Edward Knox, founded CSR (Colonial Sugar Refining Co) and began to construct his mansion ‘Fiona’ in the elite suburb of Woollahara in Sydney, Australia. Woollahra is an Aboriginal word meaning camp, meeting ground or a sitting down place. ‘Fiona’ means ‘pure white’ and sugar when refined turns pure white.

In 1907 Sir Walter Rothschild published a book titled ‘Extinct Birds’. It was an attempt to unite in one volume the birds which have become extinct in historical times or were on the verge of extinction.

Through these two episodes I perceived a link to the act of cessation. ‘Pattern of Extinction’ is conceived as a series of works that are united by a symbolic pattern converging on the shadowy profile of extinct or endangered birds. These bird shadows appear frozen, stamped or marked upon the found CSR sugar sacks.

In these new works I consider the relationship of cause and effect in an effort to understand links. They embody re-purposing principles and challenge the possibilities of process. Sugar sacks are stretched upon dismantled timber shipping crates that were also used for exporting and importing goods. Extinction is presented here through the birds physical absence; only its shadow remains. The checkered pattern considers the matrix of power relationships, while the painterly appearance is disarmingly deceptive.