Winner: The Joyce & Roger Lethander Purchase Award
Exhibited in Memorial and the 2015 Fine Art Student Juried Exhibition
The Carolina parakeet was the only indigenous parrot to the eastern United States. Its range, once spanning from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico and as far north as New York, shrank to only Florida during only two-hundred years of human encroachment in its territory. With a brilliant orange head and green body, the Carolina parakeet proved to be quite popular as an ornament for women’s hats. Some found the parakeet to be a popular pet, while farmers hunted the birds to protect their crops. Throughout the nineteenth century, hunters decimated the Carolina parakeet to keep up with fashion demands. An unfortunate social behavior compels the Carolina parakeet to flock around dead birds; hunters took advantage of this habit to kill entire flocks. Within hours, a flock of three hundred birds could be shot. The last wild Carolina parakeet was shot in 1904.
This work memorializes the Carolina parakeets’ violent deaths; as soon as one bird hits the ground at the hands of a hunter, hundreds in a flock would fall as well. Each wood piece hangs individually, but they visually combine to create one entity, much in the same way single birds transform into a flock. Each bird in this abstracted flock hurtles towards the ground, ready to join their companion.