Curlew Lament

Chris Collett

Tuesday 17 July 2018

The UK’s largest wading bird, the curlew, provides the inspiration for the forthcoming new exhibition at the RSPB Geltsdale Gallery.


Mark Gibbs’ show Curlew Lament, which runs from Saturday 28 July to Sunday 30 September, features new works depicting this charismatic bird, which is best known for its elongated, down-curved bill and plaintive bubbling call, which haunts our moors in summer and estuaries during the winter months. 


Over the centuries the curlew has inspired many artists and poets but sadly, the species is in danger of vanishing from parts of the UK, its population having halved since the mid-1990s. 


RSPB Geltsdale is a fitting choice for Mark’s exhibition as curlews breed on the reserve in the summer months and the site is part of an RSPB-led national conservation project aimed at finding ways to reverse the fortunes of the bird.  


Mark paints and makes sculptures featuring animals, birds and their habitat, and has been shortlisted five times for the Wildlife Artist of the Year by the David Shepherd Foundation. His work is influenced by an interest in shamanism, ancient art, and ecology; resembling archaeology his work has many layers of meaning. 


He says: “All of my work is about the preciousness of life, and is a meditation on its impermanence, including that of our own.  Thinking about curlew; I’m fascinated by their subtly camouflaged plumage and sinuous form.  For the sculptures in this exhibition, I was influenced by ancient Egyptian ibis mummies, which somehow protect an essence for a future existence.”

Curlew Lament is part of Impressions of the Wild, a programme of six exhibitions at RSPB Geltsdale Gallery by local artists, celebrating the mysteries and wonders of the natural world. 


The RSPB Geltsdale Gallery is open daily 9am to 5pm.  


For more information on events and wildlife spectacles at Geltsdale visit 

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Topic: Curlew Topic: Geltsdale