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'Migrations' Exhibition at Nature in Art


'Migrations' Exhibition at Nature in Art

Migrations - A Field Study of Adversity runs from 21 May - 23 June 2019.

This is a facinating and unique exhibition being shown at this time to coincide with refugee week (17th - 23rd June). Derek Robertson is a renowned wildlife artist based in Scotland. His work is held in collections in over 50 countries. He is a professional member of the Society of Scottish Artists, elected signature member of the Society of Animal Artists (USA) and an elected member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour where he serves on their council.

As well as having a facination for wildlife as an artist, Derek contributes to scientific research work as an enthusiastic amateur naturalist, researcher and bird-bander. He has developed a number of research and survey techniques that have been adopted by professional organisations. He has had his research published in numerous scientific journals, been author and editor in many publications and serves as a volunteer on numerous research and trust comittees.

These two passions come together in a unique way for his project Migrations:

"I am priviledged to spend my days in wild and beautiful places painting birds. As well as having a facination for birds as subjects for my paintings, I am an enthusiastic amateur naturalist with a special interest in bird migration. This has led me to follow and sketch 'our' birds and help in scientific studies of their migratory journeys from the Arctic right down into Africa. Just a few years ago I watched as "The Summer of Boats" unfolded into a refugee crisis and i saw newscasters reporting from beaches on Mediterranean islands as desperate people came ashore. I recognised these islands as the same places I had travelled to watch and sketch migratory birds and now here were people in a similar state of immediate survival, taking the same lines of flight as the birds that I portray.

Through the course of a year, I travelled through the UK and Europe, through the Mediteranean to the Middle East. On my travels I spoke to refugees and volunteers and sketched what I saw: the people, the places and the birds. I taught art classes in refugee schools in Jordan, organised art activities for families at refugee welcoming events in the UK and did art-engagement events in the Jungle Camp in Calais for unaccompanied children.

I also travelled with ecologists, conservationists and ornithologists who were studying the changing bird populations and the effects of climate change. One of the interests that ecologists have in birds is that they are important environmental indicators. If populations or migration of the birds change, this points to change in the environment that could be of grave concern. The issues are complex, but academic studies draw a link between climate change, conflict and refugee crisis - that cause further social and environmental stress. In these complex systems, ecologists look to the birds to inicate what might be happening to our world. The birds are 'telling' us something we can now recognise for ourselves and how we address the intertwined issues of climate change and refugee crisis will define who we are and what societies we live in for generations to come.

The project changed me artistically and personally and I often found myself very far outside my comfort zone but my experiences were also matched by the inspirational humanity of the many refugees and volunteers that I met".

  • Where: Nature in Art, Wallsworth Hall, A38 Twigworth,
Gloucester, Gloucestershire, GL2 9PA.


  • Opening hours: Tues-Sun & Bank hols, 10am-5pm


  • Admission charges: Adults £5.25, Concessions £4.75,
Family £15.00, Under 8s FREE

 


Explore Gloucestershire
26 May 2019

 


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