Huia at the Museum, 2023

Huia at the Museum, 2023

Artist: Sharon Peoples

Title: Huia at the Museum, 2023

Attribution: Huia at the Museum, 2023, Sharon Peoples

Year: 2023

Materials: cotton on linene, mixed media

Dimensions: 15" x 8" x 1"

Image Statement: Sharon Peoples spends much time wandering and wondering about gardens. It’s not plants, so much as the ‘visitors’ and the labour of gardening. From her own domestic garden to the local bushland and further afield to surrounding national parks, she is energised and draw inspiration by walking and observing these environments. Through exhibitions and residencies in recent years, she has become interested in how landscapes such as national parks and land holdings are crafted, often by hand, to manage nature and how conditions need to be manipulated and ‘gardened’ in order to not lose such environments. Although birds have long been a motif in her work, they have become much more central to her thinking and an important constituent to my stitching. In Sharon’s travels through the ‘garden’ of New Zealand, her response has been birds and their environments. The work focuses on threatened birds, encountered both in nature and in museums in New Zealand. This investigation combines her background in museum studies with her concerns of the environment. Fragility of both the environment and the human condition is reflected in stitch as a metaphor for mending the environment. The hand stitched works go beyond a literal translation of imagery of birds into textiles. While these are very small works, she has been thinking of very large historic embroideries, such as the Bayeux Tapestry which shows the marks of stitchers, restorers and menders, all of which stand for her, illustrate the repair, care and protection that is required for the environment.