Kate Gorringe-Smith is a Melbourne-based printmaker who works in contemporary and traditional print media (linocut, etching and woodcut) in 2- and 3D form and installation. Her past position at the major conservation organization, BirdLife Australia, gave her a great fascination for birds – especially migratory shorebirds, which journey annually between their summer habitat in Australia and their arctic breeding grounds. Their 25,000 km migratory circuit, through 23 countries, is called the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.
She uses migratory shorebirds and the Flyway to illustrate the fragile but ancient environmental connections that link and sustain us individually and globally. She features the birds in her work both as the animals themselves and as a rich, continually developing metaphor. Consequently, her art is largely concerned with our delicate environment: the threats it faces and our connections with it.
As the child of migrants, Gorringe-Smith is also concerned with human migration, cultural diaspora and displacement, and notions of ‘home’, especially in the current climate of political divisiveness and fear-mongering. Shorebirds, living with the perpetual pull of their two ‘homes’ at opposite ends of the globe, and being biologically compelled to travel endlessly between them, can capture the longing of the migrant to be in two places at once. Through solo and group exhibitions and community projects she also strives to promote awareness of these amazing creatures as they and their habitat are globally under threat.