The black stilt or kakī is one of the world's most endangered birds. It is central to the latest work of Kāi Tahu Otepoti artist Madison Kelly’s new work in a major exhibition Spring Time is Heartbreak: Contemporary Art in Aotearoa just opened at Christchurch Art Gallery.
Madison Kelly’s art is concerned with sonic ways of relating to other species and the natural world This is influenced by her work as a lead kaiārahi or guide at Te Korowai o Mihiwaka, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and her whakapapa connections to Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki who have kaitiaki over the area of Orokonui, near Otepoti .
Kelly has been looking at the kāki recovery programme and the reintroduction of chicks to the wild. In particular in her work she is interested in their call and response sounds, which she describes as a little like a karanga between the birds.
For the exhibition Kelly has made a glass musical instrument that the public can interact with. For Kelly exploring sound can be a form of mark-making.
A recent year-long project saw Kelly draw on the story of her ancestor Patahi and a sealer, Edwin Palmer, during the early colonial settlement of Otago harbour.
Madison Kelly has twice been a finalist, previously in the Parkin prize for Drawing and was recently the recipient of a Springboard Award from Te Tumu Toi Arts Foundation, mentored by Ngāi Tahu sculptor Peter Robinson.
Mark Amery spoke to Madison Kelly on Culture 101.
Spring Time is Heartbreak is on until 19 May 2024.