Paige Bradley created one of the most striking sculptures I’ve seen in recent times. Her masterpiece, entitled Expansion, is a beautiful woman seeking inner piece but fractured and bleeding with light. “From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: a social security number, a gender, a race, a profession,” says Bradley. “I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies?”
Ursus Wehrli - The Art of Clean-up (2011)
The artist channels his obsessive-compulsive disorder into art with a project of deconstructing and reorganizing
I love this! I remember the original reporting of them getting together.
World first: gay penguins become fathers
In an apparent world first, the newest chick in a Danish zoo’s penguin colony has two dads.
“This year has been extraordinary,” zoologist Nina Christensen told the Star on Thursday.
Odense Zoo keepers realized two of their male King penguins were “a couple” about a year ago, she said. Then they noticed the gay penguins would try to “disturb the other pairs and steal their eggs.”
So far, not too odd. Penguins and swans in the wild do the same thing.
In brooding season, though, the gay penguins took to trying to incubate dead herring. Penguins, males and females in turn, incubate eggs by standing on them.
“The keepers realized they seriously wanted to stay with an egg.”
As fortune would have it, a female penguin started acting oddly as well. She’d already delivered an egg with one male then dumped him and produced another with a different, already mated, male. Then she dumped him and abandoned the egg.
In the King penguin world, where lifetime monogamy is the norm, this was “extraordinary,” said Christensen.
“Now we have an extra egg and this pair that have been standing with fishes.”
The keepers tested the gay penguins’ parenting skills on a ball, then tried them with the abandoned egg. They were, said Christensen, natural parents.
“With King penguins, they mix it between the male and female. One stands with the egg while the other goes to feed and then they shift. It was the same with this pair. They both incubated the egg.”
The chick hatched about a month ago and the new little family remains separated from the colony while they bond but will soon rejoin them. Penguins recognize their offspring by their distinctive cries, indistinguishable to humans, and this trio are no different, Christensen said.
The behaviour could be common in nature, she said. Male and female king penguins look identical and they share incubation, so it’s tough to tell what’s going on inside a large colony. In fact, the zoo won’t know the gender of this little one until it gets its adult feathers at about eight months.
In captivity, however, the Odense pair are a first as gay adoptive dads, she said.
The Danish penguins don’t have names, unlike Toronto’s gay pair, African penguins Buddy and Pedro, who became international celebrities last year with their bromance.
Buddy and Pedro were paired with females this time last year to mate but the zoo has been coy about their success.
Four for four. All for love. Congratulations, America. Let’s go get married.