Bird Fancy

The Te Puna Foundation Gallery, National Library of New Zealand

The title ‘Bird Fancy’ references both the keeping of birds and the exotic and playful nature of this exhibition. The brief loosely started with the work of three 18th and 19th Century bird artists, some quirky-as black and white photos of people with their birds, some dating all the way back to the 1860’s, and a smattering of other random bird fancy material and ephemera. The final exhibition resulted in a gorgeous collection of reproduction bird illustrations by 18th and 19th century artists William Ellis, George Raper, John Backhouse and Gustavus von Tempsky, a wall of bird fancy photos that promise to delight and bemuse, and some interesting NZ bird ephemera from the 1940’s. The icing on the cake was creating the 1.2 metre high exhibition title and displaying it prominently on a pastel blue wall.

A project like ‘Bird Fancy’ highlights what is awesome about exhibition design, big or small. It’s about starting with a rough idea and through collaboration whipping the rough into something beautiful. It’s the journey along the way as much as the end results that satisfy.

Curators: Peter Ireland and Fiona Oliver, Alexander Turnbull Library
Designers: Liane McGee, Anna Vibrandt and Niki Chu
Printers: Fine art prints and panels by Picaflor Print, title by Printlink, Vinyl by Signsquad
Installation: Chris Cane
Exhibition photography: Mark Beatty, National Library of New Zealand