As some of you may know, I have been working on an installation about Maui Dolphins. I am pleased to announce that it is currently being exhibited at the Whaingaroa Environment Centre (WEC) in Ragland, New Zealand.
It is funny how things seem to fall into place sometimes. I knew I wanted to create this installation long before I had even discovered WEC. I believe there are similarities between whale research and conservation in British Columbia and New Zealand. The plight of the Maui Dolphin felt familiar to me–echoing the same kind of situation that our Southern Resident Killer Whales are facing. A game of numbers. There are many organizations in New Zealand that are really pushing for the survival of this tiny dolphin. Such as the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, and the NZ Whale & Dolphin Trust to name only a few. It is amazing how these small cetaceans have captured the hearts of New Zealanders and have become a common cause across the country. New Zealanders feel a sense of ownership or stewardship over these venerable creatures and they represent a state of pride and nationality–similar to how those of us from Vancouver Island feel towards our Southern Residents. So I knew this was the project that I wanted to work on while I was in NZ.
As I was researching various organizations that have Maui Dolphin conservation programs I discovered the WEC. What really stood out to me about this organization is that they are focused on community and education. They run a variety of programs and eco projects. In their Maui Dolphin project they work with other organizations such as WWF and DOC. The more I read about WEC the more I hoped that they would be up for my proposal. I sent them an email and waited.
Yes! They were interested.
I had a fantastic meeting with a few of the lovely volunteers at WEC and they were on board with my installation. It is moments like this that I love. Using art in this way along side education posters and leaflets about the Maui Dolphin was something new. And we were all very excited about it! Art connects with science that connects with public education… perfect.
The installation will be exhibited through New Zealand’s winter months before being mailed back to me to be shown in Canada somewhere (give me time and I will find the right place). This project has really opened my eyes to the smallest and rarest dolphin in the world.
For more info about this installation click here.