Copyright © Rosa Mar Tato Ortega

Rosa Mar Tato Ortega's works are often conceived of her inner world of impressions, experiences and conversations. While personal experience is at the centre of her sculpture practice, it is often through outward connections to community or site that her work unfolds.

Cheetham Wetlands are world-renowned. This migratory birdlife sanctuary is both beautiful and ever changing. Rosa’s visits to the National Park/reserve allowed for much discovery. The wetlands are transient, the shores and layering of the foreshore shift and change depending on the tides and seasons.

The shifts in the salt lakes are a sanctuary to the migratory bird population. Many of the birds chosen in this design can be seen at the local wetlands. This is an international hub for wildlife experts a stone throw from Melbourne.

Consideration of highlighting the importance of the salt marshes was a focus when making the work.
Each and every individual bird depicted in the design, was selected based on research and discussions, during several visits to the Cheetham Wetlands with John Bradford, Consultant to National Parks Victoria.

‘I am interested in discovery - the bird’s resilience in an ever changing environment, world mapping, changing waterways and cultural significance. I also have a fascination with weeds and the complexity of seeds, their shape, toughness and ability to endure, their extreme survival. The interrelationship between the natural and the man made was my impetus to discovery. I wanted to focus on the fundamental importance of the ‘current statuses of these bird species.’

Some are ‘Low Risk’ near threatened, i.e. Spoonbill’s vulnerable status and the Orange - bellied parrot presence on the critically endangered list is a serious affair. There is much excitement in the bird watching world, that some of these rare species have been sighted at the Wetlands.

Brolgas like to hang out in pairs, as do pelicans and both are represented in Rosa’s design.

Rosa is interested in the viewer’s discovery as one enters the Community Centre, whether one stands underneath the work or within three or five meters away, this experiential element is pertinent to the artwork.