Dreams of Wildlife

Finally, we can congratulate ourselves on the unprecedented accomplishments of modern Sapiens only if we completely ignore the fate of all other animals.
— Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari

Through my exploration of woodblock printing inspired by Japanese antique netsuke I have discovered many beautifully carved creatures in museum collections, catalogues, books, exhibitions and from friends who have had netsuke passed down to them through family. I have also encountered a deep sadness and uncertainty throughout this process. 

As humans our love for aesthetics and beauty throughout time has come at a great cost to other living beings. If the desire to make stuff is "our shared human inheritance” (Elizabeth Gilbert) I wonder if we can begin to learn new ways of using our ‘gifts' to connect in a more harmonious way with the environment and our fellow creatures on the planet.  

Ivory has been, and continues to be, one of the main materials used for carving netsuke. Elephants are poached for their tusks in order for humans to maintain trade relations, causing extreme suffering of this rare and beautiful species.   

Of 13 elephants found dead in a sanctuary between September and November 2016 all but two were shot poisoned or snared.
— Impossible Dream - Alice Owen

A few weeks ago I went along to the UWE degree show at Bower Ashton Campus in Bristol. I was so moved by this short film that I wanted to share it here. Impossible Dream was written, produced and directed by Alice Owen based in the Southwest of England. 

Daniel Zuma lives in the Tsavo corridor in Maungu Village, Kenya. His dream was initially to become a pilot flying commercial airplanes until he met Rob Dodson from Wildlife Works. Rob, a gyrocopter pilot in charge of a wildlife arial surveillance team, took Daniel under his wing giving him the opportunity to understand the importance of wildlife and study a diploma in aeronautical engineering. Daniel’s dream is now to become a Bush pilot helping to reduce conflict and conserve wildlife every day.

Another screening of ‘Impossible Dream’ will take place at UWE in the Autumn. Dates not confirmed yet but to find out more or to connect with Alice Owen click on the link below. 

If you want to help the elephants by purchasing one of my netsuke prints, I give a donation of £5 to Save The Elephants for each print sold.

Online Resources 

Impossible Dream Trailer

Impossible Dream 

Alice Owen

Wildlife Works

Save The Elephants


Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari