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I’m Still Here (2021)
Acrylic on Canvas
92cm x 92cm
While the Covid 19 vaccine debate rolls on in 2021, my second painting shows the problem caused by the lack of a vaccine for Beak and Feather disease. Birds that contract the disease rarely recover and face a slow and agonising death. Their feathers fall out and their beak becomes distorted, so they have trouble preening and feeding.
This poor cockatoo has managed to pick up a discarded mask, highlighting another problem caused by man. Many animals are becoming entangled in discarded masks! The pain never stops.
Psittacine Circoviral Disease (PCD) — commonly known as beak and feather disease — is caused by the Psittacine Circovirus. It is highly infectious and is a major threat to endangered species such as Orange-Bellied Parrots.
The Australian government recognised the beak and feather disease virus as an extinction threat in 2005 and started to develop a vaccine. Finally, in mid-2019 there was a media announcement that researchers at Charles Sturt University in Wagga had developed a vaccine which had been submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for approval. There has been virtually no news since than as focus shifted to humans and a Covid 19 vaccine.
‘I’m Still Here’ by Will Hazzard is both cutely familiar, and starkly confronting. We all love the Aussie cockatoo, we have all experienced their familiar cries and perhaps even fed them from our own balconies. Yet the cockatoo bravely regarding the viewer, is suffering.