If you are in London, consider visiting ‘The Ark’ - a ten-day urban and contemporary art installation aiming to raise awareness of threatened species. Presented by Bear Cub Gallery, the exhibition features a wide variety of art based on species included on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Inspired by the well-known bible story of Noah’s Ark, artists from around the world were asked to produce two pieces based on a red-listed animal of their choosing. The pieces are displayed as a pair in the gallery space which has been transformed to look like the interior of the famous ark.
Among the featured works are a model of Summer’s Poison Frog, carefully constructed out of 20,000 Lego pieces, a digital collage of a Hawksbill Turtle, a colourful depiction of Rothschild’s Giraffe in ink on layered paper, and a stunningly realistic handcut stencil and spraypaint rendition of a Western Gorilla’s face.
“In building the ark we had to consider our passengers and we very organically came to the idea of having endangered animals on board, to help save the species in the greatest need,” says Charlotte Pyatt, Bear Cub Gallery Co-founder. “Louis Masai was instrumental in this decision and actually made us aware of IUCN and its work.”
Louis Masai, one of the artists featured in the exhibition and advocate for threatened species utilizes the Red List for much of his work. "As humans we should be looking to make use of our understanding of global existence instead of making life so much harder for the rest of the environment,” says Masai.
Masai’s contribution to The Ark is entitled ‘Shem and Ham (a Shrinking World Around us)’ and consists of two paintings of Amur Tiger cubs on miniature ‘habitat’ patches.
“Shem and Ham are the names of Noah’s two sons. The shrinking land densities pose an imminent threat to the tiger, which is shown by the small patch of grass I’ve painted them on", says Masai. “The Lego trees reference the nostalgia of toys in childhood, symbols and relics of our past. I’ve painted them in quite a playful way; one bounding and the other curled up like domestic cats- it is a very human attribute to want to domesticate an animal, to tame the wild thing.”
Featured artist Laura Ball is kindly donating part of the proceeds from the print sale of her beautiful piece ‘Cycle’ to The IUCN Red List. You can purchase the print here, and the original watercolour is also for sale at the exhibition.
The Ark is open to visitors from 26 September to 2 October 2014 at Crypt on The Green, Clerkenwell, London.