The projects below include a range of animal conservation/conception-based works, some of which have been exhibited and some that have not yet been presented publicly. If you are interested in learning more about any of these projects please contact me directly or sign up for my E-newsletter.
AFTER THE PICNIC (ongoing series)
This installation is a visual record of the number of bears destroyed and the number of bears sent for rehabilitation on a monthly basis in BC, from October 2015 to September 2016.
Each plate is titled with the month, the year, the number of bears destroyed (shown in black), and the number of bears sent for rehabilitation (in gold) in that month.
These human-wildlife conflict statistics are recorded by BC Conservation Officers and are published monthly, available on the Province of BC website.
Bear cubs that get designated for rehabilitation specifically in the lower mainland are sent to Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley. Depending on the age of the cub, the costs of rehabilitation for a single bear can run between $5,000 and $10,000, sometimes more. Critter Care aims to release the mature cubs back into the wild in the spring after hunting season so that they have a chance at survival.
The plates on display here may be purchased, please note however that each is finished with charcoal – you literally cannot interact with the piece without getting your hands dirty. The artist portion of any sales of pieces in this ongoing series will be provided to Critter Care Wildlife Society. The price of each plate is based on the total number of bears reported on it, for example: “October 2015 133-8” (141 total bears @ $2.00 per bear) costs $282.00; “February 2016 8-0” (8 total bears @ $2.00 per bear) costs $16.00; “September 2016 189-9” (198 total bears @ $2.00 per bear) costs $396.00.
Alternatively you can sponsor a bear cub at Critter Care Wildlife Society for $250.00 and you will receive a very sincere thank you and tax receipt from them (www.crittercardwildlife.org).
If you aren’t able to contribute financially, keep in mind that eliminating bear attractants in your neighborhood has no costs (to you or the bears).
Materials: sugar cane compostable plate, ink, acrylic paint, composite gold leaf, powdered charcoal, bronze title tag.
DOUBLE BAGGED (ongoing series)
Bears attracted to garbage = bears become garbage.
THE GREAT WHITEOUTENING: HUNTING FOR A PHOTO
A series of works currently under development exploring the culture of trophy hunting, and specifically the proof of the act. As evidenced by the vast number of images online showing elated hunters posing with their bloody kill, this body of work is about asking if the proof of the kill (the photo or story of the kill) is the impetus for the entire industry.
As the term ‘trophy’ hunting suggests, the goal is to obtain. As a fan of sport in general, and a believer that those who work hard do deserve some sort of reward to be proud of, I am not against the idea of obtaining trophies. What I do have a problem with is the fact that the trophies in this case are living beings. For me and the majority of people, killing others purely for the sake of an individual gaining a sense of personal accomplishment is immoral.
I have tried to educate myself around trophy hunting, including read many websites of hunting operations, and some really interesting articles such as this one on CBC’s website. While it is true that there are some trophy hunters who are legitimately trying to incite the general population around the matter (and further inflate their ego by winning some sort of social trophy in their mind), I suspect that in recent years the act of posting these photos is becoming less popular due to social media pressures. I would be curious to know if the industry has seen a decline or if the participants are now sharing their images more privately to avoid public comment.
For the purpose of this body of work (below), my focus is to eliminate the individual from their photo. How does that change things? If the goal of the trophy hunt is proof that you did the kill, what happens if you are no longer identifiable? What happens when the individual no longer receives the ‘credit’ for the act?
In these pieces I have used white-out (commonplace, eliminates errors, messy coverage) over the hunters entire body leaving only their grin as the visual reminder that the animal (with it’s own family, social structure, and purpose in the ecosystem we all rely on) is now dead because a particular human individual had a personal void that they needed to fill; that the individual believed that filling the void in their own life was more valuable than another being living out its natural life.
An important topic to address and differentiate here is that many people hunt to support their families, that hunting is a literal means of survival. For people (and other species) who hunt as a means of survival, the weaker prey is often selected, leaving the more robust animals to continue to flourish their species and the ecosystem works in simpatico to sustain everyone. I am willing to bet that most who hunt as a means to survive aren’t taking photos of their prey and posting them up to gain some sort of social status; I bet that people who hunt for food alone do it as second nature and don’t feel any desire to make it some sort of huge personal statement. I remember one of my profs from university commenting to my class that one often remembers the things that stand outside of the norm, that if one remembers something particularly upsetting from their youth it is likely because the rest of their upbringing was probably quite stable.
As this body of work is still under development, I am not proposing it to be shown anywhere yet. I am likely to explore many extensions around the topic of hunting, including that of the Huntress (feminism, empowerment, equality to their male counterparts), the topic of female ‘giver of life’ acting also as taker of life, as well as topics around the ego or removing/implanting the individual from/in different images. Also, at what point does an artist officially claim an image made by someone else? Do images that I have applied white out to qualify as my own art? What if I only printed the photo? What if I only saw it online and did nothing? Where is the cross over point of an image ‘belonging’ to one person becoming the property of another person?