North Sydney Art Prize 2024

Regent honeyeater birdsong recorded in the Blue Mountains area by Ross Crates from the Difficult Bird Group of the ANU.

HOLDING…2024, acrylic on external plywood, steel star pickets, approx 5 x 4 m

We have been chosen as finalists in the North Sydney Art Prize 2024, 11 May - 2 June, exhibiting 3 billboards which continue our advocation for the environment and the regent honeyeater.

This our statement in the catalogue:

Many species of native fauna are now threatened in the Anthropocene. One is the flagship species the regent honeyeater, whose numbers have plummeted to near extinction. Through billboards of abstracted landscapes with glyphs of birdsong, and field recordings, 'HOLDING…' is a response to loss and absence.

Listen to the regent honeyeater birdsong above recorded in the Blue Mountains area by Ross Crates from the Difficult Bird Group of the ANU.

Update on the regent honeyeater: For a number of years the conditions in the Capertee Valley weren’t suitable for nesting. BirdLife Australia reports that the 2023 breeding season resulted in more than a dozen nests and at least 16 fledglings, thanks to efforts to protect the nests. A few wild females even mated with previously-released birds that were bred in the Taronga Western Plains Zoo. 14 more birds were released in November 2023. The breeding and release recovery program by Taronga Zoo and BirdLife Australia continues.

New Exhibitions

Murray and Burgess are excited to be selected for:

Sculpture at Sawmillers at McMahons Point, 8-17 October 2021 with their work MISE-EN-ABYME (YELLOW). Meaning to mirror or repeat, this work is of a mini forest of dead trees which echoes the more frequent occurrences of natural disasters due to climate change.

Contour556, the Canberra Biennial in October 2022. Their work FALLEN FOREST highlights the plight of endangered woodland birds, particularly the Regent Honeyeater, whose near extinction is being caused by the catastrophic reduction of its habitat by land clearing.


They also are excited to have been selected for the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Expose Program, which gives exhibition opportunities to emerging and mid-career local artists. At the end of 2022 they will exhibit CALL AND RESPONSE: A SEARCH FOR BIRDSONG IN THE FALLEN FOREST, a development of the Contour556 work. For this they are exploring new professional terrain: forming links with conservation groups and applying for a grant to collaborate with a local composer and musicians.