Cley 16: ‘Cygnus’

A Berwick Swan sculpture exhibited at ‘Cley 16’ Art Exhibition titled ‘In Norfolk Now’ curated by Hugh Pilkington. Three generations Sue Johnston (Grandmother), Kate Johnston (Daughter) and Gertie Bielstein (Granddaughter) created a steel, wire and paper swan to be hung in the rafters of St Margaret’s Church in Cley, Norfolk.

The internationally important nature reserve of Cley offers a sanctuary for birds and wildlife of all kinds and it forms the backdrop to our fable. The three connected pieces combines art and story. Our work tells a narrative of the serious impact that anthropogenic debris has on so many ecosystems and populations of wild species. Small seemingly insignificant random acts of wastefulness come together with serious unpredictable consequences. Some 100 million tons of plastic are floating and travelling in the oceans. Especially lethal is ingested plastic, oil contamination, and discarded fishing tackle, all so carelessly disposed of and causing slow, painful deaths to everything from tiny seabirds to whales. The story also questions our evolving relationship with the wonders of nature from twitching to trophy hunting, taxidermy to gastronomic delights.

Unless we start to rectify the damage; will all that we have left, to remind us of extinct species, be contained in museum cases or represented in spiritual effigies?

‘Cygnus’ is part of a trilogy at ‘Cley 16’ which also includes ‘Harry Pashley’s Bell Jars’ and ‘Requiem’.

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