“Do we treat the earth as if ki is our relative—as if the earth were animated by being—with reciprocity and reverence, or as stuff that we may treat with or without respect, as we choose?" — Robin Wall Kimmerer
This illustration depicts how humans and nature are connected in many ways; we find peace in nature, yet we continue to destroy it. The skyscrapers, along with the cloud and fog, bring about a dream-like appearance, showing how humans have distanced ourselves. We have our ‘head in the clouds,’ ignoring the consequences of the problems we cause. The buildings are transparent. I could give viewers a glimpse into what’s happening inside the buildings, reflecting on the theme of repression and confinement. People are realizing that they need to change their destructive habits and are trying to escape from the buildings. The buildings situated very close together add a congested and claustrophobic tone to the top half of the work, suggesting that this transition is difficult for people to achieve due to fear or selfishness. There are no landmarks, no personality, and all the buildings are uniform, which leaves this work open to interpretation as it could be any city. This decision is based on today’s digital and modernized world, while the buildings and trees symbolize what supports each way of life (human and non-human) and how we are distancing ourselves from nature. The skyscrapers act as the city’s ‘trees.’
The connection point between the road and the river represents nature trying to make a comeback amid the pandemic. While, at the same time, we are all forced indoors. This could represent how our impact on nature can end up hurting us, such as with climate change and deforestation. I also added fallen trees near where the forest and city meet, showing the deforestation and destruction humans cause to nature to make way for our new industrialized way of life. The river is considerably more fluid than the road, and is connected to the trees by their roots; this shows the isolation within crowded cities and the unity of nature in a balanced environment. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have gained a greater appreciation for the rest of the living world. Having the opportunity to stay home and take care of my mental health took me on a journey. I began to spend more time outside, stay up to date with current events, and sign petitions to protect the environment. This thought is connected to my drawing as the people living in those transparent buildings can see everything happening, yet they choose to remain distant and disregard the consequences of taking the earth for granted. The design of the river was inspired by aerial photographs of the Amazon River, on human’s dependence on and exploitation of nature.
The living world is calling out to us, and the very essence of life flows through our veins from every breath of oxygen we take to breathing out the carbon dioxide plants need to continue the cycle. We need only listen by putting Mother Nature first for once, and our prosperity will surely follow.