Like most Kiwis, I have a bit of a thing for the Pukeko. With its distinctive bright blue colouring and bright red beak, it is always easy to see against the green of the New Zealand wetland.
Also known as the New Zealand Swamp Hen, the Pukeko is a member of the rail family, and it is similar to other species found all over the world. There are apparently 15 sub species of the bird and their range includes southern Europe, Africa, India, Southeast Asia, New Guinea, Melanesia, western Polynesia, as well as Australia and New Zealand, so it is a very common bird. In New Zealand, you can find them in almost any grassland area, especially in swampy locations.
Just why they have struck such a chord within the Kiwi culture is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps it is because they are a little ungainly, but still full of character. It’s certainly not because of their flying ability – their take off is laboured and they are awkward flyers with feet dangling and often crash landing into a tree or bush, although they can fly long distances.
For me, one woman who has captured the quirkiness of the Pukeko perfectly, is Beatrice Carlson. She apparently originally studied oil painting and it has given her an understanding of layers and transparency that she now uses in her digital work. Her works are dramatic in scale – the piece above is 1200mm x 1200mm – but she works with the smallest of details, adjusting the images pixel by pixel.
I think I would quite like Blue Comme on my wall…
Essenze sells Blue Comme for NZ$2,901 and will ship anywhere in the world. You can check out their site here.