Floating Land Archive Site 2021

Silent Song

Libby Derham and Kris Martin with Students from St. Andrews Anglican College

An empty nest lays silently on the water, displaced from its home, unused without its occupants; the Black Necked Stork (Jabiru). No song-lines to be sung and young to be fed. With rising sea levels, habitat destruction and major climate change, bird patterns are changing, and species are threatened.

A collaboration between artist’s Libby Derham, Kris Martin and students at St Andrew’s Anglican College, Silent Song gives a voice back to the birds. The primary school students helped construct the nest, making the trip out to Boreen Point during Floating Land to participate in an immersive art day and see their work installed in the environment.

Silent Song invites the audience to stop and be present and to appreciate the bird life in the moment. Importantly, amongst the branches woven together by this collective of artists is Cat’s Claw, an invasive weed so devasting it can devastate ecosystems, only to be stopped if we actively prevent it.

An appreciation and passion for the natural world informs Libby Derham’s practice and the sensory experience within it. Drawn to the avian world from a young age, Derham now seeks to explore a relatively new, deeper relationship and understanding of Australian birds and their connection within the landscape. Through her work she seeks to draw attention to the immersive qualities of place, creating most pieces plein air. Through layers of sound and movement mark-making Derham transcribes birdsong to line, creating signatures for birds and giving them a much-needed voice through her work.

Derham is a fourth-generation water-colourist, passionate at pushing the medium into the contemporary space and has been finalist in multiple local and national awards including Splash: McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award, Queensland Regional Art Awards, Local Artist Local Content and Du Rietz Art Awards. Her work has also been recognised in the Queensland Watercolour Society. She completed art training at Surrey Institute of Art and Design in the UK, before migrating to Australia in 2000 where she studied Teaching and Visual Art at Monash University.