Julia DeVille’s Taxidermied Chicks Wins Prize

Melbourne-based, New Zealand-born artist and jeweller Julia DeVille has received the A$30,000 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, which was presented to her at the South Australian Museum.

The award was for her work Neapolitan Bonbonaparte, which features a trio of taxidermied chicks, whose feathers are dyed in the colours of Neapolitan ice cream, sitting in a sterling silver vintage ladle.

“One’s pink, one’s brown and one’s natural, like strawberry, chocolate and vanilla,” deVille said.

DeVille said she used human hair dye to get the shade she wanted on the birds’ feathers.

“Before I taxidermy the chicks I dye them first, then wash it out and blowdry them like a little salon, then do the taxidermy after that.”

The work was a commentary on industrialised agriculture and the use of ethically sourced eggs in food, she said.

The Waterhouse Prize’s judges said deVille’s work opened a “challenging dialogue about our consumer society today – the difference between appearance and what lies beneath, between perceived truth and the actual truth.

“This duality is depicted in a work that is both beautiful and grotesque, which attracts whilst at the same time repels.”

DeVille’s taxidermied horse, called Pegasus, was part of the critically-acclaimed group show Dark Heart at the 2014 Adelaide Biennial.

Original article by Debbie Cuthbertson, Brisbane Times, June 9, 2016.

Photo by Tony Lewis.

Tags: Brisbane Times  Julia deVille  Neapolitan Bonbonaparte  taxidermy  Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize  

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