Art to the Rescue

Eli Whitney Museum

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2019 Summer Program

Every bird, beast and bug has earned its place on our planet. But crowding and sometimes contamination threatens many. Consider the stories of animals revered by the cultures they have shaped and yet still endangered. Animal stories are often not recorded in books, but in art: in paintings, in masks, in sculptures, dances, songs and storytelling.

In South America, the Inca honored the Condor – the heavenly messenger – by building an outdoor mini version of the Temple of the Condor at Machu Picchu, and Spirit Dancers that bring the flight of the Condor to life.– Pacific islanders honor the Giant Tortoises – lords of the ocean ­­– with carvings, bark and rock paintings and tattoos. The Chinese honor Tigers – powerful protectors of the good – in brush paintings, fierce figures that guard buildings, and masks for processions. Parts of Africa revere the Giraffe – for its remarkable height, large eyes and wisdom– with wooden masks and striking paintings. India celebrates the Elephant – sometimes as devine, sometimes decorated to transport divinities – with every art.

Practice these arts to understand the ancient power of these animals. Each day join a virtual safari to see these animals in their worlds. Join a group to construct the environment that these animals belong to. Learn their names as they are spoken around the world. Make a teeshirt to speak for your animal. Join the efforts to protect these treasures.

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