The Art of Bird Taxidermy: the discovery of a vintage collection that led to Marylène’s new Taxidermy print. 1 January 2019 – Posted in: Stories

When Marylène discovered the extensive collection of tropical and regional stuffed birds, including some fascinating extinct species and beautiful vintage objects, hidden away at the small yet beautiful Belgian Olmense Zoo, she had to learn more about this quite unknown museum. Contacting the Zoo to see if it was allowed for her to take photographs, documenting her next print, the Zoo invited her to have a closer look. Marylène’s interest in the magnificent stuffed birds slowly grew into more of a collaboration with the Olmense Zoo, helping them spread their mission to keep Taxidermy alive, not only as an art form, yet emphasizing the added value it brings as it produces educational objects and recycles raw materials that are otherwise lost. The love and care they put in their unbelievably comprehensive collection, containing not only birds, but colorful tropical insects, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, is something we can only applaud.

A statement from the Zoo: “We want to take Taxidermy out of the dark and show the benefits and splendor of naturalia. Naturalia is a collective name for all objects from nature that have added value as decorative and/or educational objects. It is just that combination of decorative and educational that interests us.

In the past, collections of eggs, shells, butterflies, stuffed animals, skulls and the like were seen more as personal objects that were stolen from nature. But just like with zoos, and with fashion, there is a past and a now.

Taxidermy is a wonderful form of recycling as long as the raw materials (dead animals) are correctly obtained. A stuffed panther head, that was the result of a trophy shot, is not the same as a stuffed panther that has died in a zoo of old age or disease and is very lifelike. Let us be clear, no animal, large or small, should be taken out of nature if that is not necessary. We therefore also distance ourselves from any form of collection that these specimens still actively participate in.”