“For centuries poets, some poets, have tried to give a voice to the animals, and readers, some readers, have felt empathy and sorrow. If animals did have voices, and they could speak with the tongues of angels--at the very least with the tongues of angels--they would be unable to save themselves from us. What good would language do? Their mysterious otherness has not saved them, nor have their beautiful songs and coats and skins and shells and eyes. We discover the remarkable intelligence of the whale, the wolf, the elephant--it does not save them, nor does our awareness of the complexity of their lives. Their strength, their skills, their swiftness, the beauty of their flights. It matters not, it seems, whether they are large or small, proud or shy, docile or fierce, wild or domesticated, whether they nurse their young or brood patiently on eggs. If they eat meat, we decry their viciousness; if they eat grasses and seeds, we dismiss them as weak. There is not one of them, not even the songbird who cannot, who does not, conflict with man and his perceived needs and desires. St. Francis converted the wolf of Gubbio to reason, but he performed this miracle only once and as miracles go, it didn’t seem to capture the public’s fancy. Humans don’t want animals to reason with them. It would be a disturbing, unnerving, diminishing experience; it would bring about all manner of awkwardness and guilt.”

Joy Williams, Nature

Hummingbirds, oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm

Wildlife Museum II, oil on book-paper, 21 x 15 cm

Wildlife Museum III, oil on book-paper, 21 x 15 cm

Untitled, oil on book paper, 21 x 15 cm

Untitled, oil on book paper, 30 x 21 cm

Untitled, oil on book paper, 21 x 15 cm

Untitled, oil on book paper, 21 x 15 cm

All Contents © Marie Irmgard Birkedal 2021