Project 3

“Wake up call”

Nothing is as important at this time in history as environmental issues, not only relating to ourselves but also the creatures we share this planet with.

I am first and foremost a naturalist, with a great love of God’s creatures which is reflected in my art. The theme that runs through this project exists in both traditional and contemporary form. Alongside animals identifiable such as leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo are shown anthropomorphic creatures drawn from our subconscious and narrative pre-history.

Through my studies of children’s literature, I have become aware of the many representations of animals as people, particularly the white rabbit. From Alice in Wonderland to Br’er Rabbit, a child’s cultural image of the animal recurred constantly and in some way represented an early form of anthropomorphic symbolism relevant to children but recognisable by adults alike.

‘The Rabbit, The Rat and The Tarantula’ stands as a child’s nursery rhyme or story, realised for all to see in a three dimensional form. This deeply symbolic imagery links us, the human animal to consider our link with our natural heritage and our animal ancestry, now lost and forgotten in our sophisticated society and to consider our own conscience and destiny.

I was saddened to discover that due to habitat destruction and loss of genetic diversity the Javan rhino, a prehistoric mammal, will become extinct. An unforgivable loss for a supposedly educated and civilised world. I believe art can effectively challenge and highlight these issues of gross human neglect.

‘The Game’ represents polar bears with human characteristics playing polar chess as their ice realm melts, driving the wild polar bear into extinction as the entire existence of the Arctic regions are threatened.

How many of these animals we know today, hazily remembered, will be our children’s mythical beasts?

Richard Southall