THE BROLGA PROJECT 2017
‘The Brolga is a large grey crane, with a featherless red head and grey crown’ according to one source – not exactly a promising vision, so where does the Brolga’s magic lie? With the dance? With the female-led trumpeting song? With aboriginal story? What is indisputable is the fact that there are a number of brogla ‘homelands’ around Beeac.
The Brolga, which mates for life and shares the care of young between mother and father, likes a wetland to build its nest of twigs and raise its one or two young. The volcanic plains of Kanawinka have an abundance of salty lakes and associated wetlands.
During Term 2, sculptor Peter Day, artist-in-residence at Beeac Primary School and the PS students are focused on the big grey bird that dances. They have requested local postie Dave collect news of sightings on his rounds. Elderly citizens are sharing their tales, the children are listening and putting together a map of brolga activities in the area, spreading awareness of the bird’s presence far and wide. This gathering of resources, information and images will culminate on 21 June when the project meets the public with an extensive display in the hall, engaging local brolga dancer Jamie Marloo Thomas, research experts and others.
The focus of the students’ project with Day is to create artworks with a brolga theme that can be displayed around the town and raise awareness of the bird’s local presence. It’s all hands on toward this goal: feeling the dimensions of the bird, tracing its shadow, examining its outline, form and space, the weight of the body, the thrust of legs and neck, how the bird moves, how it stands and twists.
Day is encouraging students to investigate a variety of materials in the creation of their brolgas – two dimensional and three.
Teacher, Karen Cherry, who prepared the funding application to engage Day, speaks of the excitement the project is generating as the students work beside a practicing artist on work designed for public display.
Chimeric, like the bird, BPS students' brolga on the PO wall