With urbanization, animal trade, destruction of the food chain and many other evils committed to animals, natural wildlife territories are being displaced and animal numbers are shrinking at an astonishing speed. We are in the Anthropocene where human activity has transformed between a third and half of the land surface of the planet, which leads to human-wildlife conflict. The conflict takes many forms ranging from loss of life or injury to humans and wild animals, to competition for sacred resources to destruction of animals’ habitats. In my work, I investigate this conflict while also creating humorous and reflective narratives that show animals under human domination.
In my current series, “Our stories”, I empower animals as protagonists to narrate their own stories, and allow them to confront humanity, revealing visceral emotions of hatred and wrath. Showing angry, smirky or other exaggerated comical expressions, these animals are holding objects - either found objects like hammers and wrenches or tools that I have created – to dismantle human facilities, rescue their peers, and defend themselves, etc. This juxtaposition of a cartoony narrative and the serious theme demonstrates how humans are consuming adorable and innocent animals and my assertion that these animals will eventually resist and retaliate against us.
For example, in “Come Out”, an angry dormouse is using a jackhammer to widen a hole in the asphalt road to rescue another dormouse who is trapped underground. One of his eyes is wide open, staring at the front, as if to say, “Selfish humans, why do you occupy our home? You have already cut all the trees where we lived, we evolved to live underground, and now, you are taking our only remaining home!” With a glimmer of hope, the other eye is glued to the hole, as if to say, “come out, my son!” In “Uprising”, a group of beavers are marching toward the sewer pipes that occupy their habitat and are about to dismantle them. Some are smirking, some are angry, one is carrying a wrench, and another is carrying a hammer. They are brandishing tools as weapons, as if to say, “Pipes go to hell! We’ve had it!”