Monday, January 3, 2011

Flight of the Birdmen

"Flight of the Birdmen. (we can articulate our shadows)" *
[for SophieTom & Charles Harpur]
Painting / poem: (c)Brent M Harpur, 2008.

 I created this painting (Flight of the Birdmen) in 2008, the same year I decided to move from my home in New Zealand to Sydney, Australia.
It is a celebration of my ancestor Charles Harpur finding his way from County Cork (in Southern Ireland) to Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land)... and starting a new life, home, family & career in a strange new locale at the bottom (top?) of the world.
It also references (in both the title & the self portrait figure) the Aoraki Birdmen, a Nghi Tahu (South Island Maori tribe) legend of creatures that were half man & half bird. Cave drawings of these creatures can be found in various parts of South Canterbury in NZ, and these are believed to be some of the oldest examples of indigenous art.
The birdman in this painting has paintbrush sticks helping hold on his wings. These are to represent how my art helps with transforming my courage & transcending "the tryanny of distance"...
(thanks, Tim Finn) And at the bottom of the painting is a self-penned love poem for the sea, that I wrote in the early 90's. The rocks on which the words are written are real rocks, lovingly selected & collected from a beach in my hometown of Timaru. I have been attaching pebbles, words and other sculptural elements to my paintings since 1999.


My one true love, the sea
She calls to me;
And ripped apart by the tides inside
Amongst her waves and spray
I confide.
Broken up and shipwrecked,
She spits me on her shore;
& like a piece of wood
She wears me down,
But still I'm wanting more.
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2011.

"When the mind is at sea, a new word provides a raft." (Goethe)

* This artwork is for sale. For more:

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