Purdy Hicks Gallery is delighted to announce Leila Jeffreys' first solo exhibition in London.
Leila Jeffreys (born 1972, Papua New Guinea) has for many years photographed native Australian birds including Cockatoos, Budgerigars and Finches. She works alongside scientists researching endangered species; her profound ornithological knowledge and extensive travel are intrinsic to her work. Jeffreys' search for a conscientious way to photograph birds has given her projects from early on an inherent rigour. Seeking to document each variety of bird from a particular species she has worked regularly with wildlife rescue groups and conservation projects. Previously Jeffreys photographed Australia's national bird – the Budgerigar – a commonplace bird in its native country. A wish to express that the beauty of small birds is often overlooked led Jeffreys to photograph the Budgerigar with a similar approach given to a human portrait.
For her more recent series, Biloela, to be shown at Purdy Hicks Gallery, Jeffreys has continued with this portrait style while recording nearly every Australian wild Cockatoo species, with their distinctive crests and curved bills. The resulting works not only document the Cockatoos' large variety of physical traits, but also capture the character and personality of each individual bird.
As a child I was always enamoured with animals, I saw them as 'people' which is how I formed a relationship with them from a very young age. As I've grown, I've watched the human population explode worldwide so I wanted to remind us all about the 'little people' that also share the planet. Like us they search for food and shelter, they form relationships, they raise offspring, they defend their territory, they play and they sing. They are magnificent creatures that enrich our lives if you stop to notice them and I believe it's our responsibility to ensure they will always have a home in the wild.
Australia is a continent of Cockatoos, a bird species with many beautiful physical variations, they are all full of character and playfulness and are extremely intelligent birds and I want to celebrate them. I photograph them in a traditional studio portraiture setting and take photos that focuses on capturing their characters, not just their beauty. I print the artworks at over a metre tall so that they can be viewed from a human perspective.