Parrots Recite Poetry at PAMM As Part of New "Speechless" Exhibition

Perez Art Museum Miami's (PAMM) willingness to experiment with installations has extended to a new species: avian. The museum's "Speechless" exhibit includes the vocal stylings of two pairs of bird celebs: two African Grey parrots and two double yellow-headed Amazon parrots.

The birds (who usually live in Miami with a private individual) are temporarily part of a climate change-centric piece. Dutch artists Liesbeth Bik and Jos Van der Pol taught the birds to recite T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," and the birds' cage includes letters that spell out the words global warming, climate change, and sustainability, all in capital letters.

"Speechless" is one of three exhibitions on view concurrently [Nicholas Lobo's "Marjetica" and Marjetica Potr?: "The School of the Forest | Miami Campus."] which confront the topics of environmental crisis and climate change," says PAMM curator René Morales.

"These topics are very present in recent artistic production, as well as within a variety of intellectual fields, from recent philosophy and anthropology too, of course, the natural sciences. They also resonate strongly with Miami, given the city’s relationship with sea-level rise and with its unique natural surroundings. In this sense, they relate to PAMM’s mission to address issues that are particularly relevant to our community," he adds.

The exhibition is designed to highlight the idea of animals having a voice in the fight against climate change. 

"A major aspect of Bik Van der Pol’s practice is to create a sense of dynamism and energy within the gallery space—to make it feel alive—and then to use this dynamism as a way to generate free discussion around pressing subjects, including ones that have become politically fraught," Morales says. "We hope the project will delight our audiences at the same time that it provides a platform for respectful, productive conversations on the issues it addresses."

The birds are being well taken care of — PAMM hired one of the nation's top bird veterinarians to oversee their care (according to the exhibit's FAQ page). In addition, the FAQs reveal that the aviary was specially designed to provide an enriching environment for the four friends, and every night the area will be closed to create a dark, quiet environment conducive to sleep.

If you want to meet the parrots for yourself, "Speechless" is on display at PAMM through February 21, 2016. 
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Hannah Sentenac covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. She is also editor-in-chief of
Contact: Hannah Sentenac