2011. Rozome (Japanese wax resist silk painting). Damask silk, natural dyes, mordants, wood, barbed wire. 40 × 149 cm.
A wildlife friend of mine dragged me out of bed at 4:00 a.m. to watch the endangered greater sage grouse dancing on their lek, a bare hillock where generations of grouse have danced. The males strutted and puffed out their chests (literally – they have inflatable sacks) and danced for the females. Now, there are only 13 male sage grouse left in Alberta. They abandon their leks and nesting grounds where there are too many roads, pipelines, and fences.
I painted this silk and hung it for a week. Then I pulled threads, abraded holes, and pierced it with barbed wire before rehanging it. People were horrified that I had desecrated a beautiful painting. I was horrified that the loss of a painting was deemed more important than the loss of a species.
Photo: Joe Kelly