Sternberg’s art exhibit explores human impact on animals
By Cristina Janney
An art exhibition at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History focuses on the human impact on the animal world.
“Art and the Animal: Art that Matters for the Planet” by the Society of Animal Artists will be on display at the museum until May 5.
This exhibition includes the work of 60 artists from the United States, Canada, France, New Zealand, Scotland, Spain and Sweden. The art includes sculpture, as well as 2D work.
Each of the artworks is accompanied by a short statement from the artist about the environmental message behind the artwork.
This exhibit will educate and inspire attendees on topics such as; climate change, illegal wildlife trade, endangered species, habitat loss and pollution, according to a statement posted on the museum’s website.
A painting depicts an elk and on the horizon you can see a raging forest fire.
A sculpture of a sea turtle looks beautiful from the front, but if you look through the transparent bottom of its shell, you can see trash, typical of what a sea turtle might ingest in the ocean.
“The way we see it, on the surface, it looks good, but we’re not doing a good job,” said Rachel Unruh, Sternberg’s public relations coordinator.
Marine animals eat plastic bags, mistaking them for jellyfish. Other animals are caught in nets, fishing lines or plastics. This can hamper their ability to eat and the animal will starve.
Animals can also accidentally eat tiny pieces of plastic, called microplastics.
This exhibition follows another recent art exhibition on a similar subject – “Environmental Impact”.
“I remember people talking about ‘environmental impact’ as being a little depressing, but if you don’t talk about some painful issues, how are you going to save the planet and work on conservation?” Unruh said.
You might not think much of a painting of a beautiful sandhill crane. However, the artist’s statement explains that laws in his home state of Michigan would make sandhill cranes game birds. They are currently protected as migratory birds.
“Come with an open mind and see what you can learn from the paintings,” Unruh said.
The Sternberg is currently offering two other traveling exhibitions – ‘Exploring Extinction: The Dodo’ will be at the Sternberg until May 15 and ‘In Search of Earth’s Secrets’ will be at the Sternberg until March 30. be back at Hays this summer for programs in conjunction with the Hays Public Library.
These exhibitions will be followed by “Sahara Sea Monsters” which will arrive at the Sternberg on May 28.