Fiona Francois - Tasmanian Masked Owls

Fiona Francois
Tasmanian Masked Owls
digital print of original drawing
40 x 40cm
Edition of 25

Fiona Francois - Artist's Statement

The Tasmanian masked owl is the largest subspecies of the Australian Masked Owl and the largest Tyto Owl in the world. A formidable bird of prey, the Tasmanian Masked owl inhabits the outskirts of old-growth forests nesting and roosting in the hollows of trees. The owls mate for life and occupy a permanent territory. They are now classified as endangered as there are estimated only 500 breeding pairs left in Tasmania and their habitat is diminishing as a result of forest clearing, poisoning and overcrowding of other species. I’ve chosen to portray these majestic birds resting on an old gnarled tree shrouded in fog in the early morning light. I have used powdered charcoal for the background and the birds in graphite and charcoal pencil with coloured pencil for the colour accents. I’ve always regarded owls as a mystical bird, as folk lore and personal anecdotes abound of these magical creatures, and they have captured my imagination.

his work was submitted by the artist as part of Wild Island's Threatened Species Project 2023. One third of the proceeds will go to Tasmanian Orchid Conservation & Research Program and the Swift Parrot Surveying & Monitoring Program (in conjunction with BBF, TWS and GRANT) and will continue to support Friends of The Orford Bird Sancturary.

In 2022 Threatened Species Project proceeds went to Friends of The Orford Bird Sanctuary and the Miena Cider Gum Recovery Program.

Threatened Species Project, 3rd October - 5th November 2023

There are 683 species of plants and animals, including insects and other invertebrates, on Tasmania's Threatened Species List. Yes, there are the iconic ones so many people know about, but there are numerous species that are tiny, little known or ‘less attractive’, which are no less important to our rich and varied eco-system. This new exhibition will expand our understanding of the range & diversity of threatened species and educate of their plight. It also aims to raise much needed funds to go towards their support.

It’s a small thing we can do during an age of climate change, mass species decline and habitat loss.


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