Overall Size: 900 x 1040mm
cow dung and water on board
Mayfly, Dragonfly, Dobsonfly, Caddisfly, Stonefly
While driving between Lake Manapouri and Gore in 2010 I stopped to draw the nearby hills. Realising that I had misplaced my pencils, I jumped the fence into a cow paddock and gathered cow dung to use as a watercolour pigment. That night as I camped near the Mataura River my neighbours were tying fishing flies. Indigenous flying insects found in the local river ecosystems provided the inspiration for their intricate work. Campfire discussion was centred around the increasing impact of dairy farming on water quality in the local rivers.
I see cow dung as one of our most under-utilised resources in New Zealand. Used in the right ways it could, and probably will in the future, be put to a myriad of uses.
Scientists see the presence of these indigenous insects as an indicator of the health of our freshwater rivers and streams. They prefer to live in and around unpolluted water.
I have drawn inspiration from the work of Sydney Parkinson, who was the artist on James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific in 1768. Parkinson made detailed drawings and watercolour studies of the plants and animals collected by Joseph Banks while on the ship.