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No Complaints (2021)
Acrylic on Canvas
Since the Covid 19 outbreak in early 2020 most of the world has focused on prevention (better health practices such as wearing masks, using hand sanitiser, deep cleaning, quarantine, and lockdowns) and finding a cure.
I was constantly dismayed by so many humans complaining about how they were inconvenienced by having to wear a mask. Where I live, mask wearing was never mandatory, only a suggestion and I was verbally attacked on many occasions for choosing to wear a mask! As well as protecting my own health, I was concerned for my dad who has leukaemia. That people would object to me wearing a mask was incredible.
As 2020 went on, the race was on for a vaccine. That got me thinking about Beak and Feather disease that has been infecting and killing cockatoos and other birds for almost 20 years. Why hadn’t there been more of a focus on a vaccine for them? This anthropomorphic artwork is suggesting that birds, an important part of the environment, would happily wear a mask to protect themselves from a deadly virus.
‘No Complaints’ by Will Hazzard is a more hopeful continuation. The same cockatoo regards us, a look of confusion in its eye. The surgical mask clearly the topic of its concern. In its natural habitat, boldly defined, the bird is communicating from a position of strength and authority. Its body is rebuilt, its feathers regrown. The mask’s protection has healed it. As if it is sating “I am in this beautiful tree, I am protected. I am wearing a mask. I am protected.” The bird demands an answer, “Why do you not protect yourself?”