The Bourne into the Wild Exhibition, held in Boscombe as part of BEAF, demonstrated the artwork of 25 local and national artists in an attempt to resurrect an issue which should have never diminished: endangered animals.
Annie Bushnell took a space with a wall of mirrors, white lights and an industrial presence encompassing it all and reverted it from its modern infrastructure back to harness the essence of nature in her exhibition.
Local and national artists wove their work featuring endangered animals into the studio, allowing the pieces and its message to grow and overwhelm what was once a hollow room.
As one of the 150 events that made up the Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe featuring 500 artists across 55 different venues, the Bourne into the Wild exhibition on October 30th saw the marriage of art and fundraising.
For Annie, it was her first exhibition and the birth of her future endeavours to keep producing work nurturing connotations of issues surrounding endangered animals. All the money raised was donated to Dorset Wildlife Trust and she laughed, “I think the cause is more important than the exhibition”.
At the showing in Boscombe, white canvases towered above everyone, supporting watercolour paintings of blue whales, bears travelling as pets in the back of trucks and depictions of mechanical tigers staring coldly and accusingly at its viewers.
All of the animals on display were only a few of the 451,000 endangered animals and plants to date which is 16,000 more on the red list than last year, according to Endangered Earth.
In the studio, interpretations floated between the personal crowd that attended with ideas regarding the westernisation of tigers flying one way and perspectives of the exotic pet trade drifting another.
Among the art, Annie’s personal touch was showcased by her pieces depicting butterflies being drained of their colour.
Her melting butterflies spent the evening inciting deep empathy from the viewers and left them resonating Annie’s commitment to the cause.
The third year Arts University Bournemouth student used the subjects she did because their physical fragility reflects the preciousness of them as a species.
Using the exhibition, she addressed the hefty silence that seems to have consumed the threat of animals going extinct.
In the 1980s, when the issue was only recently brought to the spotlight, Andy Warhol produced silkscreen prints of endangered animals which previously sold for around £321,000.
This was only a short decade after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was formed in 1973, the first agreement of its kind between governments to ensure the trading of animals does not threaten their survival.
Of Andy Warhol’s ten pieces in the series, only one animal, the Bald Eagle, is no longer deemed in trouble.
Now, people’s interest in the cause has died even faster than the species’ because it is no longer an exciting novelty so audiences are numb to how important it still is.
In fact, it is more imperative than ever that action is taken with a study from June 2015 revealing the earth is entering its sixth mass extinction.
Consequently, the rapid loss of ecosystem services, including pollinating insects that ensure crops grow along with phytoplankton and green plants that provide oxygen, poses a massive threat to human beings.
Therefore the combined effort from AUB students and national artists to resuscitate the issue has been admirable as the intimate exhibition proved to be a voice for those who have none.
Annie said, “I probably thought about a year ago that I would probably never get to this stage of even doing something that’s worthwhile so it’s been a big step for me really”.
Fringe Festival Coordinator, Daniel Broadbent, said “I think the way she’s interpreted the Fringe festival is very interesting. She’s taken her opportunity to do something for other people and I think that’s really quite inspiring”.
Overall the evening was a tremendous effort from artists from across the UK who presented their work and promoted the deeper issue of extinction and its massive impact on animals and humans alike.