Bird lovers flock to empty Darwin arcade

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Julio and his cockatoo Paulie enjoy the sunset at Nightcliff. (Supplied: Sarah Mackie)
Julio came to Darwin by boat as a teenager seeking asylum from East Timor and said he thinks of Paulie as a little brother when he is missing his family.Ornithologist Amanda Lilleyman is pictured in her “office” on the Darwin mudflats and spoke about the five black-tailed godwits she wanted to get tattooed on an as-yet-undecided location.And Helen Gordon posed with her bantam rooster Elvis, one of many chooks who are at home on her 12-acre block near Coolalinga. Photo:
Amanda Lilleyman in her “office” on the Darwin mudflats. (Supplied: Sarah Mackie)
“I grew up in Darwin on an egg farm and the eggs back then were in cages, so a battery chicken farm,” she said.”It’s a little bit different at my house, my chickens are all free ranging.”Transforming spaces, surprising peopleThe portrait project’s creative producer, Johanna Bell, described herself as “a bit of a bird nerd”.She is also interested in public art and has been inspired by the Renew Newcastle effort to revitalise empty city streets through art projects.With the help of a grant from the City of Darwin’s public art program, she worked with photographer Sarah Mackie and projectionist Pier Filippo Galetti to bring her vision to life.”Temporary public art is all about transforming places and surprising people,” she said.”Lots of locals use the Anthony Plaza as a thoroughfare and I love the idea of them lucking upon these intimate portraits of strangers’ lives during their lunch break.”I wanted to create a work that changes the way people think about disused spaces in Darwin.” The funny thing about Nathan Richardson is that he can fly further than his yellow and blue macaw, Skye.He is a commercial pilot and has flown all over the Top End as part of his day job.By comparison, eight-month-old Skye doesn’t fly much further than up onto the air-conditioner and back, occasionally.”Skye is clipped, so it’s a bit of conjecture at some times but it is for her own safety,” Nathan said.”She’s quite happy just walking around and chewing stuff and she’s got full run of the house.”Nathan and Skye are among a handful of Darwin locals and their pet birds captured in a series of photograph and video portraits that are being projected onto an empty shopfront in one of the quiet arcades in the CBD.There is also Julio Carses Da Costa, known to Nightcliff joggers as The Cockatoo Man, who cycles the foreshore with his bird Paulie.
(Supplied: Sarah Mackie) By

Jacqueline Breen


October 18, 2016 17:42:17

Nathan and his pet macaw Skye.