Un/natural Habitat by Marie Olinik
Description: This birdhouse was constructed mostly of materials located on my parents’ farm outside of Kelliher, Saskatchewan. By using fence boards weathered silver after over 50 years of outdoor exposure, accented with poplar bark from trees that had succumbed after lingering too long in flood waters, the birdhouse smells like home.
Or at least an attempt at a home. We impose ourselves upon their natural environment, building artificial structures (i.e. power lines) to serve our needs and expect birds to live around them. A birdhouse is but another artificial structure that could have similar expectations attached.
I have no expectations that any birds will live in my birdhouse… but I attempted to create one in the hope that it may one day be used. Blue mimics clear blue skies, gold showing a willingness to honour the birds by using a colour considered precious, and two ravens flock the entrance to welcome any birds that may choose to enter. Maybe even the flecks of mica from navy blue stones will further entice a passing bird. Only time will tell.
While cutting the components for this home, I witnessed a flock of gold finches land nearby to feed on a small pile of canary seed. It was the first time I’ve ever seen this particular bird at my parents’ farm. Maybe it was an omen of good luck, maybe it was an omen of global warning. Regardless of what it was, it felt like a sign.
Bio: Marie Olinik grew up on a farm outside of Kelliher, Saskatchewan, graduating with a BFA from the University of Regina in 2003. Her artwork explores the imagined interactions between animals and power transmission towers using vibrant paint colours and altered natural materials such as local soil mixed with black gesso and weathered wooden fence boards. Marie currently lives in Regina and works as Collections Coordinator at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
Opening Bid: $150