“Beady eye”, reduction print

I have just produced 6 prints, a close up of a flamingo. The photos above illustrate the several layers that go into each print. Such a lot of thought and concentration goes into creating a linocut reduction but I also want to write about the subject and what leads us to work on a particular image.

I am inspired by the natural world, utterly. Birds and trees feature in many of my prints. But I’m also appalled and saddened by species decline, often feeling helpless in the face of climate change and habitat loss.

The flamingo is a subject I’ve been wanting to work on for a couple of years. They are so extraordinary in colour and behaviour: the swell of birds as they launch into flight; their preposterous nests, like chimney stacks. Their chicks live so very dangerously – if they topple from the nest it’s almost impossible to return to safety.

Of course, the flamingo is under threat. The BBC have recently broadcast a series, Equator from the Air, and visited Africa. The footage shows a vast flamingo flock on Lake Bogoria in Kenya, a lake where they still thrive while other lakes have become hostile to them.

Shot by a British team of experts piloted by a white south African the finger of blame for habitat loss is pointed at population explosion. But the documentary does not involve local activists or conservationists. There is no talk of positive action on the ground from local organisations. If you want to find out more about what is happening within Kenya, I found this great article about Friends of Nature, Bogoria.

I was also inspired to write a creative piece to accompany the print, Beady eye:

You’re being spied on from above, 

Colonial conservationists have been helicoptered in,

There they are, overhead, observing. And blaming.

Burning fossil fuels as they condemn local population explosion.

Easy to preach from the pulpit of suburbia,

With three kids and unnumbered air miles.

For you there’s only natural flight

Over the iridescent bloom of algae.

Reduced now to one lake not two.

Still nesting in your millions.

Still shockingly pink.

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