When one is asked to think of endangered species, one no doubt envisions giant pandas or African elephants. But what of the Philippine eagle, the red monarch, the Komodo dragon or the Amazonian manatee? The number of vanishing species is so great that it boggles the mind. Endangered and vulnerable species are a direct result of damaged ecosystems caused by humans. As stewards of the planet, humans have a responsibility to honor life on Earth. Whether it be minimizing personal waste, learning and shopping for items that minimally impact ecosystems, or simply acknowledging that all of our actions have an impact on someone else.
When the idea for creating an exhibition showcasing endangered species was presented to the artists of Canvas + Clay nearly 2 years ago, the subject matter inspired a body of work unlike any we have witnessed in our studio or gallery. The show took on a life of its own, as some of the most well executed works of art started emerging from the artists. Staff and community artist led workshops gave way to hundreds of artworks, each unique and each made with love for the animal it portrays. From sweet faced red pandas to sharp toothed Tasmanian devils, each animal has been read about, researched and become familiar to the artist who rendered it. What is presented in our gallery is a fraction of the work created around this subject matter, and the care for the species depicted is clearly shown in each piece. As conservationist and anthropologist Jane Goodall said, “Only if we understand, will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall all be saved.”