This maybe my most intricate work to date and I have always wanted to do a reliquary. The centre of this piece is a little hummingbird found at the Oxford Natural History museum. The reason it struck me and why it has become the focus of this work is the fact that it has been stuffed to look like its dead. It seems such a strange thing to do, the whole focus of taxidermy is to make the animal look alive. This poor hummingbird however seems to have been purely a scientific specimen without even the kudos of being made to fly or swoop. He will be frozen in death forever with the added indignity of a label tied to his leg.
I have surrounded my poor dead hummingbird with more fortunate hummingbirds from various museums who can be seen swooping and flying in a copy of life. There are gems and semi precious stones including Lapis Lazuli (religious connotations) and a selection of fantastic taxidermy glass eyes I found at the Booth Museum in Brighton (I was like a kid in a sweet shop) surrounding them. The base is the life span of a cut Chrysanthemum working from the outside in (it is part of my Plant Hunter series) and symbolises death (obviously) Oh and there also a few hummingbird tail feathers found at the London Natural History museum. These poor hummingbirds sacrificed their bodies in the pursuit of Natural History (which actually all the birds in this piece did) Why do I use so many brackets?