Birds of New Mexico in their natural habitat are featured in a new art exhibit opening at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces.

“On the Wing: The Avian Photography of Nirmala Khandan” opens in the Museum’s Arts Corridor with public reception from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 24. Refreshments will be served and admission to the reception is free. The show, which will be on display through Dec. 3, can be seen as early as Aug. 18, but free admission is only during the reception on Aug. 24.

Khandan began photographing birds in his native Sri Lanka before moving to Las Cruces 17 years ago. The drastic change in environment made his artistic journey challenging and fun.

“Birds are unpredictable,” he said. “It’s nice when you can capture an image with a clean background in their habitat. In this exhibit, I have compiled portraits of a variety of birds photographed in their natural habitats here in New Mexico. While most of them are residents, some are migrants. Others may be regularly spotted here, but some (like the Great Kiskadee) are a rare sight in our area.

“I hope viewers will appreciate the fascinating details of the birds, as well as gaining some insight into their behavior and the way in which they interact in their habitat,” he added.

Khandan, whose work features all types of nature and wildlife photography, began sharing his images on social media and is excited to reach a wider audience. His show includes 32 images that are beautifully colorful and display great detail.

While his technical expertise and talent in composition are evident, there’s much more to his work. He hopes to raise awareness of the importance of habitat.

“I hope this exhibit will help raise awareness, especially among younger generations, about the diversity and beauty of local avian life, and encourage the preservation of our ecosystem in the face of rapid urbanization, climate change, and habitat loss.”

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