The Supporter

The idea for The Supporter arose from thinking about the idea of wild cities. The idea that nature is out there beyond the city where most humans live just seems outdated. Humans are part of nature, and we live in cities, just like termites do.

There are peregrine falcons that live in the Melbourne CBD, not far from this building. You can see them on a webcam. I watched the fledglings take their first flight from a high-rise building. That is certainly not ‘natural’ but apparently it doesn’t matter to them. Like us, other animals can, and will, adapt and survive. All we need to do is give them half a chance.

Peregrin falcon nesting on Collins Street, Naarm/Melbourne.
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Sure, I would prefer to see them living on a remote mountainside, as they did in the past. But we live in a world of cites and people, and we cannot go backward. We have to find a way to go forwards together with other animals. And when we do, the life we lead together is better for all of us.

This is where the idea for the habitat that the creature is holding up with their legs came from. As you can see, it’s kind of like a plant and it’s kind of like a stone cliff face, but it’s also quite fleshy, with hair growing it of it. It’s sort of a blended space, neither fully artificial nor natural. The most important thing about it is that it is the habitat for these lovely fluffy young birds.

Certainly, this is an unusual image. It shows a relationship where we are putting another’s interests ahead of our own. We see a person with the strength to hold up the environment, in this incredible yoga pose. And that’s what’s cool about it. It’s an uncanny work, like Atlas holding up the world but not on his shoulders.

The Farnese Atlas, Naples, Italy. (Photo: Harry Gouvas.).