My work often addresses our complex relationship to the natural world. Much of my recent work specifically addresses what we have lost and what we still stand to lose—plants, animals, and wild spaces. I am particularly interested in the discourse of Natural History - a discipline that straddles social & cultural theory and science. This work came together after my science communications mentor Jay Ingram gifted me his entire collection of Natural History journals (1968 to 2014). While lugging these boxes of bound volumes around, I started to uncover that all this knowledge means little if we don’t do something with it. They very much felt like heavy objects to be used to press flowers or raise my computer monitor. Inside these journals were articles about climate change from the late 60s, stories on tigers at risk of extinction beside articles on the Lapps (people) of Sweden.
There is also the very real issue of eco-grief. Sadness and devastation at what is happening to our natural world, and feeling powerless to do much about it. While at times this work serves as a warning, at other times it is an elegy, mourning the loss of something irreplaceable. In “Box 1-3” I use found objects to recreate and reframe how we might encounter this kind of display in a natural history museum, a display that doesn’t strip the politics from the objects.
In “Southern Resident Killer Whale Matrilines: J, K & L Pods,” I have embroidered some of the female orca elders on the branches of the lungs. This family is facing many threats as an endangered species, but I wanted to acknowledge the calf born in 2018 to J35, who carried it on the surface for 17 days mourning its loss. If you try to find any scientific data on this calf, it is not there because scientific protocol is to only give a name and number to the calf if it has been with the pod for one year.
Some scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammals become extinct every 24 hours. “150/day” takes the form of 150 species I’ve encountered in the Fraser Valley and places them in sterile petri dishes to examine. As a whole, each one paints a picture of what it might be like to lose 150 species a day.