Debbie Symons: Sing

Debbie Symons: Sing

Image: Debbie Symons, Sing 2020 (detail), palm oil fronds and wire, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.

An exhibition by Monash Design Lecturer Dr Debbie Symons.

Comprising of 100 handwoven pendant nests containing mini speakers playing pre-recorded tropical bird species songs, Sing evokes the delicate and intricate natural connections found in remaining ‘wild’ environments. Symons is a participant in the Bayside City Council’s Billilla Artist Studio Program, which has given her the time and space to create.

Sing is supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund and is an outcome of Symons’ residency at the international Labverde residence in Manaus, State of Amazonia, Brazil.

During the residency, Symons’ was enthralled by the Yellow-rumped Cacique nests' precarious suspension over the flooded forests within the Amazon jungle. The Cacique nests are pendant shape. This form of nest structure is common among many tropical bird species endemic to equatorial regions.

The nests exhibited in Sing will be reflective of the Cacique nests, both in texture and colour however, rather than being made of indigenous Amazonian flora, the nests in Sing will be created with African palm oil fronds – a plant being cultivated as an industrial, agricultural crop following the clearing of tropical rainforests globally.

Symons completed her PhD at Monash University and is a Lecturer with Monash Design and Associate at the College of Design and Social Context, School of Art, RMIT University. Her other works can be viewed at

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