Arts & Entertainment

Penguin Bloom

penguin the magpie

Life has a delicate harmony that most people ignore. The story of Penguin the magpie illustrates how this was recognised by a very unique group of humans.

The Blooms were devastated by an accident that left wife and mother Sam paralysed. They were reeling from shock when relief came to them in the form of a magpie called Penguin, who was abandoned and ejected from its nest.

Cameron Bloom has documented the relationship of the bird and his family in a series of poignant photographs that show the simple bond between man and beast. The exhibition follows a developing kinship linking the chick and its protectors. The images feature elegant comparisons of the domesticated and the wild, and demonstrate that strong connections can grow despite wildly disparate natures.

There is humour, introspection, happiness and love in these shots. In some, the dishevelled chick stands proudly staring beak first into the camera, defiantly urging the viewer to challenge its place in the home.

There are funny situations where Penguin rolls in the sheets like a teenager, and warm declarations of camaraderie, particularly in one picture which focuses on a black, gnarled talon next to the soft, chubby fingers of a child. It is a beautiful image with depth, originality and joy contained within its deceptively simple frame.

The story is an exposition, a book (Penguin Bloom: The odd little bird who saved a family) and a testament to the way in which the world can surprise, entertain and provide comfort in the midst of tragic circumstances. (LR)

Mar 30–Apr 2. Arthouse Gallery, 66 McLachlan Avenue, Rushcutters Bay. Admission Free. Info: or


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