Last summer, by sheer happenstance, I found myself stalking a new neighbour.
The neighbour was a large red-tailed hawk in the middle of downtown Toronto. It caught my attention as it swooped mere inches over my head and then flew into the boughs of a pine tree. I stood there and watched the rustling high up in the branches. Then suddenly, an eviscerated pigeon dropped from the tree. Up until that point I wasn't aware that birds of prey were living in the city core.
Over the course of the summer, while on walks with my dog through University of Toronto campus, I kept seeing red-tailed hawks in unexpected places. I witnessed them flying between buildings in alleyways, presumably because that's where rodents can be found, and perched high up on construction cranes, which is an ideal position to swoop down on pray, or to use as a private eating and resting spots.
I am fascinated by how birds are using man-made structures to adapt to urban environments. This painting titled “Balance” is inspired by these observations and reflections on how animals are adapting and striving in urban environments.
Instead of the red-tailed hawk, I decided to focus on the tree swallow because I love the iridescent blue feathers. The delicate tiny egg nesting in the centre of this polyhedron, sums up the delicate balance of this unexpected arrangement, where nature takes full advantage of whatever is at their disposal.
I am donating this painting to OCAD University’s Project 31 art auction on March 28, 2018. It’s an excellent fundraising initiative that helps support our students. I am in favour of the notion of creativity supporting creativity.