CONSERVATION

Inspiration:

The idea for this installation first arose due to an exhibition named ‘Missing’ by artist Louis Masai, which was open during the summer, in none other than the Crypt gallery. This exhibition showed a wide range of works that listed species becoming extinct and it was an interactive show with sculptures an paintings, plus trees and grass, laid across to depict the forest. He felt it was his duty to draw attention to this pressing issue and as this topic directly overlaps with mine, I immediately thought of creating an installation with the same topic in mind.

 

Another inspiration for my piece ‘Conservation’ was by artist Myeonbeom Kim and his artwork entitled, ‘Merry go round’. During my visit to Paris, I attended Myeonbeom Kims exhibition, Ámphibology’. The site of the deer in this particular exhibition caught my eye. Even though the meaning behind his works for this exhibition were psychological based, my fascination for wanting to model a deer, an animal that is native to every continent except Australia, came to light.

 

Having then later researched on the subject of deer’s, I found the Columbian white tailed deer to be endangered and read the book entitled, ‘Revised Columbian white-tailed deer recovery plan’ which as the book suggests looked at new means needed for saving this species of deer. It spoke extensively of new habitat requirements as their old habitat had flooded due to high tides. Lowering morality rates through health treatments, necessary water supplies and forest structures etc.

Another exhibition which was very relevant to my practice was Sketch for survival’ where artist’s across the globe raise awareness about the threats facing animals.

In 1978, the Columbian white-tailed deer was listed as endangered. The white-tailed deer became endangered primarily due to habitat modification. Development of commercial, residential areas and farming as humans took over their habitat, as well as flooding destroying part of their land. Poaching and overhunting also led to their decline.

 

In 2003, after decades of trying to save the Columbian white tail deer, it was removed from the endangered species act. The population had increased from just 2000 in the early 1980s to more than 6000 today. The protection under the endangered species act has helped protect and improve the habitat for this deer. The Julia Butler Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed deer was established in Washington in 1972.

Conservation (2018)
Plaster, wood, resin, branches and leaves
94x18 inches
(height x width)
Conservation (2018)
Plaster, wood, resin, branches and leaves
94x18 inches

Method and interpretation:

 

As stated above, one of my inspirations for this piece was the artist Myeonbeom Kim. My initial idea for the deer head was to have tree branches as the deers horns but unfortunately, I couldn’t find any that fit the brief and hence decided to create some out of wire and clay. The head is modelled from a picture of the Columbian white-tailed deer and ultimately cast in plaster from clay, air dried clay on top for texture and finally painted.The bust of the Columbian white tailed deer is placed on top to depict a healthy deer head and the varying colourful leaves, branches and decaying branches on the ladder depict the various stages of progress towards animal conservation.

Taking inspiration from Myeongbeom Kim, I decided to use branches and leaves that I picked up from the nearby gardens.

Conservation (2018)
18x7 inches
Deer head
Plaster, wire, clay and paint

I used a ladder in my installation as a sign for progress that human beings can make through wildlife awareness. At the bottom of the ladder, I have made skulls taking the mould from real animal skull heads. I used epoxy resin which is less harmful to the environment and got the skulls stuck onto a wooden board. Some horns on the skulls are cut off to display poaching.The plain wooden board denotes a dead environment on which the dead animal skulls lie. The skulls on the wooden plank denote the extinction and lack of conservation towards the environment and wildlife on it.

Conservation (2018)
18x7 inches
Deer head
Plaster, wire, clay and paint
Conservation (2018)
14x4 inches
Animal skulls
Wood and resin

The hands and sparrow sculpture are made with cement, plaster, wire and clay. The sparrow in European folklore is seen as a sign of impending death. A sparrow is shown on top of large human hands and real animal horns are in the palms with fake blood as to depict the inevitable doom of the animal kingdom unless people are made aware of the harm that human beings can bring to the environment and wildlife.

Conservation (2018)
7x6 inches
Hands with sparrow and animal horns
Cement and clay

This is a video of my piece with the sounds of a crying deer being harmed. Animals are poached and hunted for ivory, game meat etc, to be sold. The sounds are meant to remind us of the pain and suffering we cause the animal kingdom for our own selfish gains.

Conservation (2018)
Video

Conclusion:

 

This installation signifies my thoughts behind animal conservation. The skulls at the bottom of the ladder, then moving towards dead branches, then climbing upwards on the ladder towards coloured filled leaves depicting a healthy environment with a fit looking deer head on top of the ladder depicts the various stages of advancement that can be made towards animal conservation and a prosperous environment. Public awareness, legal protection and reducing carbon footage are a few steps that can lead to wildlife conservation.