This is an art project to create a new and useful tool for wildlife identification in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In remote areas of Congo, where the internet doesn't reach and where posters don't hold up, information travels farther when it's printed on something people carry with them- something durable that they can wear, wrap food in, or hang out on the line to dry. A big bright bandana with a big, informative graphic printed on it will do a better job than a laminated paper handout.
The new Lomami National Park in eastern DR Congo is a unique and exciting project. While many parks and preserves in poor countries are established by decree from someone high up the political ladder, the people who live in the forests and on the riverbanks of the Lomami river in eastern DR Congo are doing something different. In Lomami, the local people are part of the process. They have agreed, in collaboration with a team of Congolese and US scientists, to set aside a large tract of forest for a new national park.
This is where the bandanas come in: I'm going to do a detailed pen-and-ink drawing of the protected species found in Lomami National Park and screen-print it, by hand, onto about 400 big bandanas in a variety of bright colors. I'll travel to Congo this fall to volunteer with the park team, surveying the forest and monitoring poaching in the area. While I'm there, I'll be handing out the bandanas to whomever wants one.
The objective of the park is to create an area where Congo's threatened wild nature is protected. Species like elephants, bonobo chimpanzees (one of our closest primate relatives) and okapi all suffer from heavy poaching pressure and loss of habitat, and will benefit heartily from this park. The point of these bandanas is to create a bright picture of the park's protected species, in a format that will remain visible in communities and villages over time, a beautiful object that is at the same time a useful tool.
Almost all of the art that I make is made entirely by hand, and this project is no exception: this image will be inked on architectural vellum, a translucent cotton paper that allows images to be directly exposed onto the silkscreen.
Below I've included some examples of my work. For more, you can visit this page here.
- (30 days)