You are in the forest. You follow train tracks for hours; watch your mother expertly digging for fleshy plant roots, fruits and berries.You discover a mushroom, savour a pine nut, and try a crunchy insect. You run through soft leaves and wade across rivers. You watch in wonder as she fishes for salmon. You reach a busy highway. Your mother goes first, and your brothers follow. You hesitate, and in that instant all of them are hit by oncoming traffic…
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Surrounded By Humans
Is it possible to investigate and unravel the complex relationships between the human and non-human world? Can we ever truly know and understand another species? What rights and considerations do we afford to human beings that we do not afford to animals?
Our beliefs regarding sentience and animal rights are fundamental to our understanding of the animal world and to combating Speciesism. Imagine yourself as non-human, what do you become? With my works, " Five Acres, One Hill" and " Drifting", I set out to identify with, and become, the bears. I also chose to see and represent these captive bears as free.
Imagine being taken from limitless Nature, confined behind a fence, restricted for a lifetime to one hill. Image yourself locked in a glass display tank, with vague, instinctual recollections of an ocean you will never see or experience again. Was it a dream? You can’t say, as this is your whole world now.
Conservation, research, breeding of threatened species and rescue of animals in need are certainly reasons to keep them captive, but we also do so for pure entertainment. The animals in this series are all held captive for spectatorship, and yet they still manage to be themselves, no matter the conditions. Certainly there is a wide spectrum of captivity, with much depending on the individual conditions.
Coola was found alone on a highway near Bella Coola. Another orphan grizzly bear, Grinder, was found wandering alone on a logging road in Invermere, BC dehydrated, weak and weighing only 4.5 kg. His mother was never found.
In my depictions of Jellyfish and Sea Otters , I mimic the way humans place animals on display. My images in glass light boxes resemble display cabinets, recalling glass aquarium tanks. I depict the complexities and details as one might photograph a lover. The intertwining opaque tendrils, the gesture of a paw pressed against glass, highlight Nature butting up against walls created by humankind.
"Two Stones And A Penny" celebrates the complexity and beauty of Beluga Whales and questions whether Cetaceans should be bred in captivity.
This body of work utters my love of animals and the environment, and the gravity of the situation of the natural world today. There is an urgency to recall the primal instinct connecting us all to the land and the creatures that we share this land with.
To view the images for this series, please click on the following links
Alternatively, you can find these images in the pop up menu under WORKS.