In 2007 Fiona Pardington completed the Ngai Tahu residency at Otago polytechnic where she has made new photographic works from the collection of the Otago Museum
“The Otago Museum is home to numerous native and exotic birds’ nests. Found and collected, these nests are classified as ornithological specimens, catalogued alongside examples of extinct birds, others who battle for survival and those that currently thrive. The collection represents New Zealand birdlife, past and present, and while some items are displayed, others are housed in controlled storage for long periods of time, far removed from the forests, shorelines and gardens they once inhabited.
Fiona Pardington’s study of nests from the Otago Museum collection moves beyond conventional museological descriptions and references. Pardington builds on the information she is given – or in some cases details unknown – to create a profile for these humble nests. From a bird’s eye perspective Pardington photographs her subject, and with empathy awards these taonga a voice, commanding silence so their stories can be heard.
For Pardington, the nest is a transformative place, a mystical space that is in a constant state of flux. Pardington’s nests, different in appearance and equally diverse in character are not represented as static specimens but rather living forms, breathing and beating.Pardington engages in a process of cultural retrieval, and through the lens she bears witness to the essence of taonga”.