This is Angel. She is an 11 year old budgie and has been a fully integrated, completely loved, endlessly entertaining member of my family for over the last decade. She is brave, fierce and independent. She has survived two tumultuous relationships with different partners (RIP Vincent and Sunshine), been hospitalized with a drip, and has knocked on death’s door more times than I want to think about. She is feisty and sweet all wrapped into one adorable bundles of feathers and I love her more than maybe an average human loves a pet budgie. But I’m not ashamed of this love, I am proud of it. Perhaps I have a slightly neurotic, obsessive personality but come on – this bird likes to eat on the dining table with the family – right off your plate. In fact, for when she’s not allowed to eat with her human family members, she has turned one of her toys into a plate onto which she transfers seeds from her dish via her handy beak. She has learned tricks and has often come flying when called, and maintains her calm, independent behaviour even with wings unclipped. She is tamer than many humans I know, stronger, and cuter (sorry).
Angel was bought at Wal-Mart 11 years ago for roughly $12 (yes, that is correct). She was sick with a cold, as many of these Wal-Mart budgies were, but even as a 5-week old bird, I saw a sparkle in her eye and knew she had to be ours. I quickly enrolled in Budgies 101, aka Google, and nursed her back to health alongside hand-training her to be the coolest, tamest pet bird around. She was my pride and joy. (Shortly after, I learned that Wal-Mart had ceased the sale of budgies because many were malnourished and being improperly fed. Move over Drake, Angel “started from the bottom”, not you.)
I really could go on forever about her and if you know me well enough, I probably already have and I fully own up to the “crazy bird lady” title but the fact of the matter is I miss her. She is back in Canada with my parents and with so many oceans and miles between us, I needed to make something that made me feel closer to her. I don’t even know or care if she misses me or even remembers all the hard work I put into her upbringing, but she has given me and my family so much love and laughter, it’s hard not to adore her for it.
Angel being quite light and soft in colour herself needed to contrast to a background that was loud and filled with life and colour – just like her vibrant personality.
Completed and ready for the fixing process. Notice that I’ve used that fancy layering technique in the background.
And voila – my second batik piece is complete. And it meant so much to me, that I had to frame it and put it on the wall so that I could have her with me wherever I went. I’ve considered bringing Angel to Malaysia but the long-haul flight would be too much for her to handle in some seedy pet cargo area, along with the issue of our uncertain life and constant moving around, I’d hate to disrupt her settled life in Canada to frolic with me when she is more than happy in the home she’s always known. I also realize that age 11 for a budgie isn’t exactly young, and with the sound of her joyful, singsong chirping becoming less and less audible whenever I call home, my need to immortalize her through a piece of art became even stronger.
And that’s one of the most powerful functions of art-making – that it transcends space, time, and distance, bridging gaps in our every day lives and within ourselves that we simply cannot do on our own.