BIRD

by Sheila Duncan
Photo: Darius Krause

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BIRD

by Sheila Duncan

… The body belongs to the order of the things as the world is universal flesh…There is reciprocal insertion and intertwining of one in the other. - Maurice Merleau-Ponty, 1968, The Visible and the Invisible, pp 135-138.

When a bird flies into Elise Petrescu’s heart, she begins to see the interconnection of all things; past, present, here, there, the seer and the seen.

Artist, Elise Petrescu, drives through the Flinders Ranges to research a lucrative painting commission from a mining company. When a bird flies into her windscreen, she crashes her car and local farmer, Kevin Morgan, comes to her aid, but he is suspicious of her motives. As Elise paints the landscapes for her commission, she enters a liminal vortex between the paintings and the landscapes themselves, constantly returning to the site of the accident and ultimately her childhood. With the help of a Lizard, Atma, she begins to see the land, not as an object for exploitation, but as a living being under threat. As a final initiation into a new way of perceiving the world, Elise transforms into the bird that has flown into her heart, but she can never return to the world she once knew.

In this spectacle of magic realism, different worlds and realities fold into each other to question white Australia’s objectification and vandalism of one of the most sacred places on earth.

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