JODY GRAHAM

The Bower, 2017

Found urban objects and natural material native to the Blue Mountains
Dimensions variable

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Bowerbirds are a family of twenty species that are native to Australia and New Guinea. The Bower has been inspired by the male Satin Bowerbird which is endemic to Eastern Australia and frequently seen in the Blue Mountains. They are legendary for their distinctive courtship behaviour, where males build an elaborate structure made from sticks and decorate around it with blue coloured objects in an attempt to attract a mate. Some species of bowerbirds also arrange objects to create an optical illusion. By placing smaller items at the front of the bower and scaling them against larger trinkets, the male bowerbird is able to make itself appear larger when the female bowerbird comes for inspection. Male satin bowerbirds are also accomplished dancers and will perform complex moves while waving around their finest blue objects, endeavouring further seduction. Many of the bowerbirds ritualistic mating behaviour can be seen to mirror our conduct when we are seeking a mate, such as showing off the luxury abode, displaying extravagant goods and attempting to seal the deal with exceptional moves on the dance floor. The Bower seeks draw our attention to how alike we are to our avian counterparts and generate awareness and kinship.

The Bower
– Performance
Wagana Dancers. Choreography, Jo Clancy. Dancers, Becky Chatfield and Chris Mifsud. Wagana acknowledge the Darug and Gundungurra People as the traditional custodians of the Blue Mountains.