The Overwintering Project: Mapping Sanctuary is a project about home, our unique environment and the migratory shorebirds that spend the greatest part of their year here, on the shores of Australia and New Zealand.
The Overwintering Project: Mapping Sanctuary is a project about home, our unique environment and the migratory shorebirds that spend the greatest part of their year here, on the shores of Australia and New Zealand. Migratory shorebirds are the fastest declining group of birds in Australia, and this project is designed to make them and their habitat visible, which I hope will in turn help to save them from extinction.
To participate in the project, artists from Australia and New Zealand are asked to respond to the unique nature of their local migratory shorebird habitat. Australia and New Zealand have over 100* internationally important shorebird overwintering sites#. These sites are not interchangeable: each possesses a unique combination of physical and biological features that make it the perfect sanctuary for migratory shorebirds to return to, year after year.
Migratory shorebirds suffer from an image problem: brown birds that inhabit the intertidal zone, often mudflats, they are cryptic birds in an often overlooked landscape. What is more, much of their habitat has been reclaimed, used for marinas, docklands, ports, cities etc. For example, records tell that Melbourne was once the ‘Kakadu of the south’ – an area unrivalled in rich wetland habitat. I am inviting artists to seek out their local habitat and document their personal response to it, whether it is an industrial waterway awash with the wakes of passing container ships or a pristine tidal zone shared with sharks and turtles. As artists, we can make it visible, and in this way we will create an intricate and personal map of our precious shorebird habitat.
To date over 150 artists from around Australia and New Zealand have joined the Overwintering Project. Anyone can join. To find out how, visit the project website www.theoverwinteringproject.com