New exhibition Leila Jeffreys: The wound is where the light enters

By Liz Ginis

October 6, 2022

Heralded for her intimate fine art photography, Leila Jeffreys explores the fragility and strength of birds in her latest exhibition, ‘Wound is where the light enters’.

Renowned bird photographer Leila Jeffreys’ new exhibition, “Wound is where the light enters”, is inspired by a line from a poem by Rumi (1207-1273).

“The poem is about how pain reveals and helps us cherish what really matters,” Leila says. “We can only mourn what we deeply love.

“The fires that tore through the east coast of Australia in the summer of 2019 caused deep personal grief. I found myself looking inward.

“From that moment, I began to imagine a new mythology, one in which living beings develop mental wounds that appear as physical marks. I had photographed the “Bleeding Heart Dove” (pictured above) as part of my “Ornithurae” series in 2017. I then set out to create an exhibit focusing on other birds with markings that appear at the human eye as wounds.

“These birds – which I feature in portraits, on branches and bonsai trees – have natural red markings; they seem to be bleeding, as if their bodies are manifesting the collective pain felt by this planet. Yet, at the same time, they embrace their wounds with openness and beauty.

Related: Famous bird photographer Leila Jeffreys dedicates a new exhibition to the parakeet

According to Leila, moments of intense personal pain have shown her, time and time again, that our hurts can actually be gifts in disguise.

“I believe that if we face pain head on, if we resist the urge to run away from it, we can access a deep inner knowing. Pain can awaken us to the kindness of people, as well as a sense of respect for nature.It can help us deeply savor the overwhelming beauty of everyday life.

“There is so much insight and personal growth if we confront and heal what hurts us the most. From this peaceful place, we radiate kindness, generosity, compassion, bravery and humor – attributes that can spread and make
the better world.

The exhibition opens at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 12.

‘The wound is the place where the light enters’, Sydney Olsen GalleryOctober 12–29, 2022.

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