A Bird in Hand – Diptych

A Bird in Hand – Diptych

Lee Harrop

The background image is Ludmilla Creek salt pan, precariously positioned amongst Darwin’s city sprawl. It is an important ecosystem that supports, amongst other things, migratory shorebirds. I rephotographed it with museum specimens that you can expect to find there such as the Whimbrel and critically endangered Eastern Curlew, in the hand of NT birder and volunteer monthly wader bird counter, Ian Hance. Referencing a proverb appearing in English circa 15th century, ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’, the diptych 'A bird in hand' serves as a warning that we should consider it better to keep well what we have than risk obtaining more and ending up with nothing.

104.5cm x 275cm 

(L) Whimbrel/Numenius phaeopus, collection of Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory. (R) Critically endangered Eastern Curlew/Numenius madagascariensis, collection of Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory. Hand of NT birder Ian Hance, background image of Ludmilla Creek salt pan - migratory shorebird site, Epson UltraChrome Pro ink on Ilford Galerie smooth pearl, framed & UV glass each 137.5 x 104.5cm


Catalogue Number: 20AP24

Price: $8 000


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Lee Harrop

  • Image 0: Ludmilla Creek Salt Pan taken in March 2019 whilst researching Wader bird sites in Darwin. I also visited the dry collection storage room at MAGNT later that day where I viewed a number of bird skins held in the collection.
  • Images 1-4 were all taken in June 2019 when I had the idea for the creation of the final artworks.
  • Image 1: Selecting the Whimbrel from one of the storage cabinets at MAGNT.
  • Image 2: The Eastern Curlew that had only just been recently received at the museum and prepared for the collection.
  • Image 3: This image shows the only space available amongst the dry collection storage room where I was able to create the works. I taped the printed image of the salt pan onto part of the back wall. NT birder and artist, Dr Ian Hance kindly and patiently held a bird in hand slightly in front. The image shows the distance required between the subject and my camera to enable the use of my fixed 100mm macro lens.
  • Image 4: A detail view and portrait of this wonderful generous man.


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