Mating Dance by Anna-Wili Highfield is an installation of courtship formations. The sculptures are an homage to the Brolga - Australia's principal dancing bird.

Mating Dance by Anna-Wili Highfield is an installation of courtship formations. The sculptures are an homage to the Brolga - Australia's principal dancing bird. Suspended like marionettes, the birds are sewn from waxed cotton and have stopped mid-ballet. They gesture call, response and mimicry.

Composer and Musician, Bree Van Ryke has created an accompanying sound work. Bree’s piece will intermittently shock the dancing birds, with music inspired by the Brolga’s bold honking. This sacred bird has forever inspired stories and dance from Australia’s First Nations people, who in shared spirit see and feel it.

Anna-Wili’s aim is to engineer a moment of contact with nature, in a way that emphasises similarity of form and consciousness shared by both humans and animals.

‘Mating Dance’ is a flirtation with life.

About the Artist:

Anna-Wili's works explore the organic qualities and resistance of materials, generating a tension between the complex realism of form and the limitations and economy of the materials used. They represent life in an immediate way that conveys the energy, movement and physical character of different creatures. Her aim is to engineer a moment of contact with nature in a way that emphasises both the startling differences and similarities of human and animal forms and consciousness.

Born in Sydney in 1980, Anna-Wili studied Fine Art at the National Art School, Sydney. In 2008, after working as a Scenic Artist for Opera Australia, she began working independently, as a practicing artist. Her works are held in private collections around the world and have featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times and the cover of Sculpture Review, USA. Solo exhibitions include Animals (Carriageworks, Sydney 2015), Spirit Faces (Olsen Gruin Gallery, NYC 2018) and Companions (Olsen Gallery, Sydney 2019). Anna-Wili is represented by Olsen Gruin, New York and Olsen Gallery Sydney.

Image credit: Studio shot, Anna-Wili Highfield, 2021, photographed by Peter Van Alphen

This exhibition is part of our Education @ Glasshouse Program. To book your education excursion and to plan your visit to the Glasshouse please click here.

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A special thanks to our Principal Education Partner Coastline Credit Union for their support of the Education @ Glasshouse Program.