Birds of Lumos

Artist: amigo and amigo (Renzo B. Larriviere and Simone Chua)

Birds of Lumos introduces us to ‘Rowi’ the Kiwi, and her baby chick; Rowi has the body of a light globe, a beak with nostrils and wears sight-enhancing goggles  because unlike most nocturnal birds, kiwi have very poor eyesight (although a keen sense of hearing and smell).

The artists, amigo and amigo (Renzo B. Larriviere and Simone Chua) have made these two little birds representative of the rare Rowi species of kiwi and their work is a comment on the importance of conservation and the protection of wildlife.

As visitors gather around them, Rowi and her chick come to life  glowing and pulsating different colours through their light-globe bodies. If Rowi senses danger, she will go through a ‘charge’ sequence; her glow will dim for a few seconds to ‘charge up’ and then illuminate in an intense display of light. 

Rowi does well to be wary of intruders because unfortunately 95% of kiwi hatched in the wild are killed by introduced pests and predators. The Rowi (one of five kiwi species) is endangered and only a small natural population of around 450 birds remains; most are found in kiwi sanctuaries or on two predator-free islands in the Marlborough Sounds on New Zealand’s South Island.

In creating Birds of Lumos the artists were inspired by the natural form of the kiwi but also incorporated elements of ‘Steampunk’ — a genre that melds science fantasy and technology with the art, fashion and mechanical design aesthetic of the 1800s.

The result is an otherworldly work that invites the audience to consider their own role in protecting the health of endangered animals through care for the environment.


The Royal Botanic Garden expands its presence in Vivid Sydney 2017. A collaboration and showcase between artists and collectives, young and old – where new developments in projection, lighting and sound technology enable them to use plants, rock walls, tree canopies and even the magnificent trunks of 100-year-old Ficuses, as organic canvases, the nexus perhaps, of art and botany. See what else is happening at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney