Fair Fowl / Portrait Gallery 2021 

(More images coming soon)

For a number of years I have been intrigued by the birds exhibited at agricultural events such as the Toronto Royal Winter Fair. Entered by their owners to compete for a medal, they stand in their cages for a day, observed by strangers under the glare of industrial lights.

I am awed by the appearance of these birds, the singularity of their forms and plumage, the intensity of the colours of their robes, crests, and wattles, the alien quality of their fleshy knobs and spiky "hair."

They are much like unwilling actors, on display in beautiful Elizabethan costumes, and one senses the disquiet of their postures, their palpable bewilderment and anxiety.

The irony is not lost on me while looking more closely at these images, that we too have become “cooped” in our way, in these pandemic times.