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AVA COLLECTION 2023
"MIGRATION: AUDUBON REIMAGINED"

GUIDELINES

- AVA is inviting a group of visual artists from the Americas to reinterpret an illustration from the book “The Birds of America” by John James Audubon, supplied by AVA in high quality print.


- Art curators Adriana Meneses and Alex Brahim will help select and convene these artists.


- The artist will choose an illustration from Audubon's book of a bird that migrates from North America to South America, Central America, or the Caribbean (information about 30 migratory birds is available below).


- The technique to be used in the reinterpretation of the illustration is the free choice of each artist, who may use a physical part of the supplied illustration in their new composition, all of it if they prefer, or just use it as inspiration.

- The size of the work should be less than 50 x 70 cm (2D) or 50 cm (3D).


- The poem 'Migration' by Pablo Neruda will serve as the leitmotif of the entire collection, giving it coherence and meaning. Each artist will choose a phrase from the poem to include it as part of their work.


- An online auction will begin several weeks in advance to the III Panamerican Benefit Gala-Show on October 27, 2023. That night, the works will be displayed in a place to be announced.

- The deadline for artists to submit their works is September 15th, 2023.

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What makes a book of birds so valuable as to be sold for $11.5 million?

John James Audubon's "The Birds of America" is a monumental work of art and ornithology that is highly regarded for its scientific accuracy and breathtaking illustrations. It was published between 1827 and 1838 and contains 435 life-size illustrations of birds native to North America, accompanied by detailed scientific descriptions of each species. Only 120 copies of the book are believed to exist today inspiring and fascinating people around the world.


"The Birds of America" was not only a work of art, but also a scientific achievement. The book is famous for its exquisite illustrations, which are considered among the most beautiful and accurate ever produced. Audubon was a skilled artist who devoted years to observing and sketching birds in their natural habitats. He used a unique method of creating life-size illustrations by arranging the birds in natural poses, then painting them in meticulous detail.


The book has fetched millions of dollars several times. In 2000, a Qatari prince and art collector purchased one for $8.8 million. Another copy sold for $5 million in 2005, and in 2010, the highest bid went for $11.5 million. In 2012, another full edition of "Birds of America" sold for $7.9 million, and in 2018, another copy sold for $9.6 million. Adjusted for inflation, these copies of Birds of America have sold for over $51 million.
 

From North to South and back
Audubon through color, Neruda through words…

Every year, millions of birds in North America embark on a remarkable journey to warmer climates in Central and South America. This migration is driven by the changing seasons and the need to find food and suitable breeding grounds. Birds like the ruby-throated hummingbird, yellow warbler, and the Baltimore oriole fly thousands of miles across oceans, deserts, and mountains to reach their wintering grounds in countries like Mexico, Panama, and Brazil.

 
The migration is a perilous journey, and many birds do not survive the lon
g flights or the challenges they face in unfamiliar territories. However, this annual migration is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of these remarkable creatures and a marvel of nature that continues to fascinate and inspire us.

MIGRACIÓN
Pablo Neruda

Todo el día una línea y otra línea,
un escuadrón de plumas,
un navío
palpitaba en el aire,
atravesaba
el pequeño infinito
de la ventana desde donde busco,
interrogo, trabajo, acecho, aguardo.

La torre de la arena
y el espacio marino
se unen allí, resuelven
el canto, el movimiento.

Encima se abre el cielo.

Entonces así fue: rectas, agudas,
palpitantes, pasaron
hacia dónde? Hacia el Norte, hacia el Oeste,
hacia la claridad,
hacía la estrella,
hacia el peñón de soledad y sal
donde el mar desbarata sus relojes.

Era un ángulo de aves
dirigidas
aquella latitud de hierro y nieve
que avanzaba
sin tregua
en su camino rectilíneo:
era la devorante rectitud
de una flecha evidente,
los números del cielo que viajaban
a procrear formados
por imperioso amor y geometría.

Yo me empeñé en mirar hasta perder
los ojos y no he visto
sino el orden del vuelo,
la multitud del ala contra el viento:
vi la serenidad multiplicada
por aquel hemisferio transparente
cruzado por la oscura decisión
de aquellas aves en el firmamento.

No vi sino el camino.

Todo siguió celeste.

Pero en la muchedumbre de las aves
rectas a su destino
una bandada y otra dibujaban
victorias
triangulares
unidas por la voz de un solo vuelo,
por la unidad del fuego,
por la sangre,
por la sed, por el hambre,
por el frío,
por el precario día que lloraba
antes de ser tragado por la noche,
por la erótica urgencia de la vida:
la unidad de los pájaros
volaba
hacia las desdentadas costas negras,
peñascos muertos, islas amarillas,
donde el sol dura más que su jornada
y en el cálido mar se desarrolla
el pabellón plural de las sardinas.

En la piedra asaltada
por los pájaros
se adelantó el secreto:
piedra, humedad, estiércol, soledad,
fermentarán y bajo el sol sangriento
nacerán arenosas criaturas
que alguna vez regresarán volando
hacia la huracanada luz del frío,
hacia los pies antárticos de Chile.

Ahora cruzan, pueblan la distancia
moviendo apenas en la luz las alas
como si en un latido las unieran,

vuelan sin desprenderse

del cuerpo migratorio

que en tierra se divide
y se dispersa.

Sobre el agua, en el aire,
el ave innumerable va volando,
la embarcación es una,
la nave transparente
construye la unidad con tantas alas,
con tantos ojos hacia el mar abiertos
que es una sola paz la que atraviesa
y sólo un ala inmensa se desplaza.

Ave del mar, espuma migratoria,
ala del Sur, del Norte, ala de ola,
racimo desplegado por el vuelo,
multiplicado corazón hambriento,
llegarás, ave grande, a desgranar
el collar de los huevos delicados
que empolla el viento y nutren las arenas
hasta que un nuevo vuelo multiplica
otra vez vida, muerte, desarrollo,
gritos mojados, caluroso estiércol,
y otra vez a nacer, a partir, lejos
del páramo y hacia otro páramo.

Lejos
de aquel silencio, huid, aves del frío
hacia un vasto silencio rocalloso
y desde el nido hasta el errante número,
flechas del mar, dejadme
la húmeda gloria del transcurso,
la permanencia insigne de las plumas
que nacen, mueren, duran y palpitan
creando pez a pez su larga espada,
crueldad contra crueldad la propia luz
y a contraviento y contramar, la vida.

Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw
Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw
What could be more Panamerican than these migratory birds?
the artists

Artist 1

Artist 5

Artist 2

Artist 6

Artist 3

Artist 4

30 migratory birds of the americas
Anchor 1 gallery
(SLIDE AND CLICK for more info of each bird)
Anchor p2
Anchor p3
Anchor p12
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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Yellow-billed Cuckoo 

Audubon Art Plate 2

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Yellow-Billed Cuckoos migrate to South America for the winter. East coast birds travel via Central America and the West Indies; western birds likely move down the western slope of Mexico and through Central America. 

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Prothonotary Warbler

Audubon Art Plate 3

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

The Prothonotary Warbler migrates across the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico where it follows the Atlantic slope south. Winters in the tropics in lowland woods and mangrove swamps. In southeastern swamps in summer, this bright golden warbler sings from high in the trees.

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Baltimore Oriole 

Audubon Art Plate 12

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Baltimore Orioles spend summer and winter in entirely different ranges. From early April to late May, flocks arrive in eastern and central North America to breed from Louisiana through central Canada. They start to leave as early as July for wintering grounds in Florida, the Caribbean, Central America, and the northern tip of South America. 

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Purple Martin 

Audubon Art Plate 22

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Most Purple Martins that breed in eastern North American probably migrate across the Gulf of Mexico. They form huge roosts (of several hundred thousand birds) in late summer along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. Others may fly over Mexico and through Central America. 

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Kentucky Warbler 

Audubon Art Plate 38

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

The Kentucky Warbler spends summer in the central and eastern United States, often ranging as far north as Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. Come fall and winter this bird will migrate back to the Yucatán Peninsula and the many islands of the Caribbean, flying non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico.

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American Redstart 

Audubon Art Plate 40

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Redstarts breeding in eastern North America travel to Florida, the Greater Antilles, and northern South America, while those breeding in central and western North America migrate to Mexico and Central America. 

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Orchard Oriole 

Audubon Art Plate 42

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Orchard Orioles fly from eastern North America to wintering grounds in Mexico through northern South America. They spend less time on breeding grounds than other orioles, arriving by late May and departing as early as mid-July. Orchard Orioles migrate north late in the spring and head southward early, with some returning to their wintering grounds as early as mid-July. 

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Audubon Art Plate 47

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

When migrating to and from Central American wintering grounds, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds may either fly directly across the Gulf of Mexico or follow a coastal route around the Gulf; the preferred strategy may be different between spring and fall migration. 

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Azure Warbler (Cerulean) 
Audubon Art Plate 48

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

The Cerulean Warbler migrates at night across the Gulf of Mexico to South America. On the wintering grounds in South America the Cerulean Warbler is usually found in mixed-species canopy flocks, associating with tropical tanagers and other resident species.

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Rice Bird (Bobolink) 
Audubon Art Plate 54

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

The Bobolink is one of the world’s most impressive songbird migrants, traveling some 12,500 miles to and from southern South America every year. Throughout its lifetime, it may travel the equivalent of 4 or 5 times around the circumference of the earth. A migrating Bobolink can orient itself with the earth’s magnetic field, thanks to iron oxide in bristles of its nasal cavity and in tissues around the olfactory bulb and nerve. 

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Swallow Tailed Hawk (Kite)
Audubon Art Plate 72

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Swallow-tailed Kites from the U.S. migrate to South America. Migration is early in both spring and fall, with Florida birds arriving February-March, departing August-September. Some migrate around Gulf of Mexico but most Florida birds apparently cross Caribbean; their migration is poorly known.

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Wood Thrush
Audubon Art Plate 73

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Twice a year, Wood Thrushes cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single night’s flight. They spend the fall and winter in Central America. They return north in spring 2 to 6 times faster on a route that's generally somewhat farther west. Males arrive on breeding grounds several days before females.

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Indigo Bird
Audubon Art Plate 74

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Indigo Buntings fly about 1,200 miles each way between breeding grounds in eastern North America and wintering areas from southern Florida to northern South America. Indigo Buntings migrate at night, using the stars for guidance. The birds possess an internal clock that enables them to continually adjust their angle of orientation to a star—even as that star moves through the night sky.

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Rose Breasted Grosbeak
Audubon Art Plate 127

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks fly from North American breeding grounds to Central and northern South America. Most of them fly across the Gulf of Mexico in a single night, although some migrate over land around the Gulf. Grosbeaks that winter in Panama and northern South America tend to be from eastern parts of the breeding range, while those wintering in Mexico and Central America tend to be from western parts.

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Illustration_from_Birds_of_America_(1827)_by_John_James_Audubon,_digitally_enhanced_by_raw

Black-poll Warbler
Audubon Art Plate 133

WORK IN PROGRESS BY:

Olivia Walker, Dan Mitchell

Blackpoll Warblers are long-distance athletes and they hold the record for the longest overwater flight for a songbird. During the fall, these half-ounce warblers fly nonstop for up to 3 days, covering on average over 1,800 miles over the Atlantic Ocean to reach their wintering grounds in Puerto Rico, the Lesser Antilles, and northern South America.