It’s a harsh reality. Earth is facing its sixth mass extinction – one million species could be wiped out if we don’t make urgent changes. But there is hope, and an initiative called The Lion’s Share fund is raising money for conservation and habitat protection by asking corporations to donate every time an animal appears in their ads. To mark marie claire’s new partnership with the fund, we challenged six artists to visualise a world without animals as a warning sign and wake-up call.
The Gallery Of Extinction
Paula Kuka @common_wild
“At first this may look like a celebration of animals. But it’s not. When I asked my five-year-old what the world would be like without animals, he replied with one word: ‘Sad.’ I agree. We are watching a tragedy unfolding. This grand and austere gallery houses a march through time as, one by one, animal species are devastatingly wiped out, from the long-extinct, to the almost inevitable to the unexpected. How much do we have to lose until we take drastic action? And when they are all gone, who is next?”
Janelle Barone @janelle.barone
“When I started thinking about a world without animals, my mind wandered towards all of the Disney movies I’ve seen where the female protagonist sings to various woodland creatures. I also thought about the treatment of animals in movies like Blade Runner where they’ve become so scarce that robotic replicants have been made. So, I combined the two ideas and imagined a Disney princess singing to manufactured animals, in lieu of the real thing. It feels eerie and dystopian to imagine a world where technology is more ubiquitous than wildlife. When people look at this piece I’d like them to feel the loss of innocence incurred when humanity tampers with the natural world in the name of greed or ‘progression’.”
After The Fire
Fintan Magee @fintan_magee
“When marie claire first approached me to create a work based on ‘a world without animals’, my first reaction was to imagine a distant future dystopia. But the more I worked on sketches, the more it didn’t feel right. The more I thought about a world without animals, the more I thought about recent bushfire events in NSW and my personal experiences travelling through affected regions after the fires. “I decided to make a realist work set in the here and now for the piece. Based on a photo taken by my friend Ed Whitfield, this work shows the remains of a burnt-out car collection on the South Coast of NSW. The work reminds us that many of us have already seen a world without animals. Being in the areas after the devastation was truly surreal – one billion animals perished in the fires. The lack of insects and bird sounds was incredibly strange, and I realised how unnatural it is to live without those sounds. This works aims to remind us that a world without animals is not some distant dystopia from science fiction. It’s here and happening now, we are in the middle of a mass extinction – if climate change isn’t acted upon, we may see the end of biodiversity as we know it.”
Maximillian Malone @maximillian.malone
“I live and work surrounded by vintage books filled with photographs and illustrations of the amazing natural world. As a collage artist, I gather materials from second-hand sources: flea markets, vintage fairs, op shops, junkyards and even bins. “I try to make conscientious choices every day to lower my impact, but reducing isn’t enough. Offsetting and leaving the world better than we inherited it has to be the target. “Recently I ran a collage workshop at my art studio, with ticket proceeds going to WWF Australia’s Bushfire Appeal. “My hope for the future is to live in a world using 100 per cent green energy, to see changes for more ecological approaches to agriculture, and a progressive society with politicians embracing change and tackling our climate crisis head-on.”
Are You Sure?
Tahnee Kelland @tahnee_kelland
“A world without animals is a scary thought, mainly because the idea doesn’t seem so unrealistic. It’s so confronting to imagine I couldn’t even bring myself to paint such a scene. Instead I wanted to show what we’d be giving up. We’ve all accidentally pressed delete on something important on our computer. The feeling of panic is replaced with immense relief when that little dialogue box pops up asking, ‘Are you sure you want to delete this?’ giving us a chance to save it. We are living in a time where we have one last chance to ‘press save’ on our environment and the world as we know it. For one day very soon, we won’t get that choice. We won’t have the privilege to be asked again and again. We won’t get that sweet feeling of relief, knowing we have a chance to save it. Soon it will be out of our control. I hope this is at the forefront of everyone’s mind next time they have to vote.”
A Shadow Of Her Former Self
Daimon Downey @daimon_downey
“We reference colours from nature, so a life without animals is a life without colour. No bees, No birds, No flowers, No trees, NO YOU, NO ME!!! She is not just our mother yet we continue to be the troublesome child. Grow up, start listening. Our siblings are dying and our mother is crying.”
Downey’s exhibition Half Masked… how little it takes to say a lot will be showing later this year.
This article originally appeared in the May issue of marie claire, on sale now.