What the Birds Knew features new large  scale works by internationally renowned Australian artists Ken + Julia Yonetani.

What the Birds Knew includes new sculptural works made from radioactive uranium glass. A 6-metre long green ant will threateningly loom over visitors to the gallery, and a large scale chandelier will be visible 24 hours a day. The use of UV lights will make the uranium glow green, giving the works an ominous energy.

These new visually stunning and highly provocative works arise out of the artists’ concerns over the recent nuclear tragedy in Fukushima. The title of the exhibition refers to the alternative title for Akira Kurosawa’s 1955 post-war film I Live in Fear, in which the central character declares that the birds would flee if they knew of the impending environmental threats.

What the Birds Knew reflects shared cultural expressions of environmental anxieties within Indigenous Australian and Japanese culture, and whether these function as either warnings or premonitions.

Ken and Julia Yonetani have exhibited widely in Australia and internationally. Ken Yonetani represented Australia at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, and Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art (SA) in 2008. Together they have exhibited at GV Art (London), Kone Foundation (Finland), NKV (Germany), Artereal Gallery (NSW), Art Gallery of New South Wales (NSW), Campbelltown Arts Centre (NSW), La Trobe University Museum of Art (VIC), Object Gallery (NSW), Gold Coast City Gallery (QLD), Jan Manton Art (QLD), and Rio Vista, Mildura (VIC).



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The Thousands by Bethany Small

Concrete Playground by Zacha Rosen

Daily Serving by Luise Guest

What the Birds Knew is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW.

The artists are supported by The NSW Artists’ Grant. The NSW Artists’ Grant is a NAVA initiative, made possible through the support of Arts NSW and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.