14 Apr - 05 May 2023
“One small change” is a collection of paintings of raptors (birds of prey) that have come into care due to injury or misfortune (with one exception – a Barn Owl who’s a free flying education bird).
Raptors are often high in the skies and rarely close enough for us to observe their personalities. By painting raptors into domestic settings with familiar objects, I aim to help the viewer become acquainted with each individual raptor and to empathise with them. Once we as a society recognise the majesty and value of these incredible creatures (just like the value we place on the antiques depicted), I feel we will collectively make more ethical choices when it comes to protecting them.
The inspiration from this collection came when I learnt about the consequences of using rat baits. The theme “one small change” is based around the ideal that if each of us makes one small switch regarding rat baits, we can boost our native raptor populations and subsequently reduce the risk of rodent plagues in future.
The most common rat baits available are second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs). These are very effective in poisoning their target species (mice and rats). However they also poison a second generation of non-target species (such as owls) that eat rodents as prey. SGARs are banned in many countries. However in Australia they are readily available from most home-improvement stores.
Of course, in some circumstances baits are necessary. But I would like to encourage everyone to think twice before using SGARs as their first choice. Traditional rodent traps and cages work incredibly well (I have tried and tested these with great success). If they fail, first generation rat baits could next be considered (active ingredient Warfarin or Coumatetralyl). Second generation baits (active ingredients Brodifacoum, Bromadialone and Difenacoum) should be used as a last resort.