selected works relating to endangered & threatened species
My body of work for “Curaga” is centered around plants that have traditionally been used medicinally for mental health care. While I may not subscribe to these beliefs myself, I find the correlation between humans trying to cure themselves and the diminishing numbers of certain species very interesting.
I explored this link by examining what it would look like if some of the threatened species on the Wisconsin DNR’s Natural Heritage Working List list disappeared. This list is comprised of more than 1,200 threatened and endangered species of plants, animals, and insects, along with those of special concern. I wanted to give voice to as many of them as I could in the year I spent preparing this exhibition.
These pieces aim to illustrate the interactions between varying species, as well as the effects that humans have had on them. We are all interconnected… interdependent. For example: Hawks prey upon American martens, who in turn eat prairie deer mice, who feed on the seeds of flowers as well as insects (which birds and bats eat as well). Moreover, all of these creatures are important seed dispersers who ensure the survival of many plant species.
“Curaga” is a powerful cure-all spell in the Final Fantasy video game franchise. It restores a great amount of health to all members of the party. Humanity and nature are deeply intertwined, and in this sense every bit of life on Earth is of our “party.” At a time when it’s health is so critical, it falls squarely on our shoulders to be good stewards of the land and to protect and preserve what we are still fortunate enough to have. Since there is no cure-all spell, we must rise to this task. By beginning to cure ourselves within, and not exploit, nature, we just may be able to keep the world as we know it turning for a while longer.
I urge you to think a little deeper about the actions you take in your daily life. Please take a look at the fact sheets posted near the pieces to discover more of these connections.