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Ivana Damien George
Brooklyn, NY

ARTIST STATEMENT: Between 2007-2009, I created a series of graphic and colorful photomontages and an audio composition entitled “Seldom Seen” depicting the endangered and threatened species of Costa Rica and the causes of their endangerment. In the summer of 2007, I went to Costa Rica for three weeks and became enchanted with the lush forests, diverse animals, unusual plants and breathtaking marine habitats. While in Costa Rica I learned about the various threats to the animal and plant species. Costa Rica is a country of amazing biodiversity and yet it is very small, only about the size of Vermont and New Hampshire put together. The government set aside 27% of the country as national parks, wildlife refuges and indigenous persons’ land. However many amazing species are still endangered due to a variety of factors such as logging, development and agricultural impacts. Through this body of work, I hope to raise appreciation of the fantastic biodiversity of the ecosystems and awareness about the impacts of individual choices on species and ecosystems. My aim is for the juxtaposed imagery to be compelling in its content while the audio helps to evoke the awe-inspiring experience of being in these diverse ecosystems. Both the images and the audio ask the viewer to think about the human impacts on the ecosystems, since the images contain references to the causes of species endangerment and the audio composition ends with the sounds of chainsaws in the forest and a single tree crashing to the forest floor. The audio can be heard for “Seldom Seen” under my links, also available on my website. When I was in Costa Rica, I used a large format camera to capture the lush details of the landscapes and small format camera to photograph the animals. I also made over 100 short recordings of sounds in the rainforests. Inspired by what I had learned about the threats to various species, I conducted research after my journey and used this research to inform my choices of what imagery to assemble together to create each artwork.

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