In this painting, a pair of Kokako are shown in sharp relief against a misty, virgin forest, perfectly preened and ever so dapper in their black masks and blue wattles. Ancient trees loom in a sparse, symbolic representation of their habitat, but we can see the ghosts as clearly as we hear their cry through the mist, while twelve clematis flowers bloom with optimism, representing a newly restored order. There is hope for the Kokako.
Richard was once fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of a Kokako as it bounced unworried and joyfully from branch to branch. It quickly vanished, swallowed up by the vegetation.
This was a truly privileged sight. With ’Grey Ghosts’, Richard wanted to pay tribute to this handsome bird and try to evoke the sense of wonder and mystery they inspire. The moniker ‘grey ghost’, sometimes used to describe the Kokako, sums them up perfectly. Often the only sign of their existence is their call...a sound once heard, never forgotten. Their appearance too, so often is fleeting and spectre like.
On panel. 70cm x 90cm