ORIGINAL ART – ‘BASHFUL’, Australian Budgerigar


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by Shannon Dwyer
Ink and watercolour
Artwork: 510 x 510mm

‘Bashful’ was created using a traditional dip pen and ink, along with professional-grade watercolours executed on 425gsm 100% cotton rag watercolour paper. This original artwork includes the ‘Shannon Dwyer Originalembossment and hand-penned signature validating it as an original artwork of Shannon Dwyer.


What a precious little poppet the budgerigar is! Whilst it’s known in the wild for the enormous flocks that can take over trees and skies, this little face, to Shannon, is just a perfect, unmistakable little piece of ‘Straya! Its gorgeous colouring, beautiful face and happy little head cock has been flying around in Shannon’s head for far too long! This piece was an absolute joy to create.

Artwork details:

The Budgerigar, ‘Budgie’, occurs naturally throughout most of Australia’s interior – west of the Great Dividing Range, although they’re not found in Tasmania, Cape York or coastal areas of east, north or south-west Australia. They are nomadic, with flocks seen in most open habitat such as savannas, grasslands, open forests, grassy woodlands and farmland, but seldom far from water. Very large flocks, sometimes up to tens of thousands, are seen after a season of abundant rainfall, though flocks are usually much smaller, ranging from 3 – 100 birds. They feed almost entirely on seeds, so they need to drink water every day to survive (consuming up to 5.5% of their body weight daily), which makes congregating at waterholes or tanks part of their daily routine. So regular are these daily movements that both Aboriginals and early explorers followed Budgies because they knew they’d lead them to water. The common name is derived from a Gamilaraay Aboriginal language name ‘Betcherrygah’, which is thought to mean ‘good food’. It’s unknown whether this means the bird itself is ‘good eating’ or whether their seedseeking migrations led to places of rainfall and food. They famously feature in the Tjukurrpa – The Dreaming – depicted in the art of the Warlpiri people who are based in the Northern Territory’s Tanami Desert. Young desert men are taught the ancient wisdom of the Budgerigar Dreaming path, learning key locations through songlines and sand drawings during initiation ceremonies. The oldest evidence of the budgie is a foot bone found in the World Heritage-listed fossil ground of Riversleigh, QLD. It’s estimated to be at least 1.1–2.8 million years old, pre-dating anatomically modern humans. Though this species is abundant thanks to the availability of artificial water sources in arid areas, feral cats predate on budgies and introduced, as well as native herbivores, may cause local declines in their preferred food source. Conservation Status: Least Concern.


*The signed original artwork includes tracked Australian postage, and will be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity.


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