Splash & Burn
Splash & Burn is an awareness campaign responding creatively to unregulated farming practices of palm oil in Indonesia. Tackling issues such as the transboundary haze, deforestation, human and animal displacement; murals/sculptures and interventions have been appearing throughout cities and the vast natural landscape of Sumatra. The campaign is collaborating with a number of local and international NGOs including London based charity SOS - Sumatran Orangutan Society and Indonesian based NGO OIC - Orangutan Information Centre. The project is initiated and curated by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt.
My contribution to Splash and Burn is inspired by translocation a process of relocating orangutans caught in human-wildlife conflicts, discovered in isolated patches of forest or encroach onto palm oil plantations. The piece shows the process of catching the animals safely from the trees prior to their removal. The canvas is a rusted billboard in a former wildlife sanctuary, now a palm oil town.
On the edge of extinction
The relentless destruction of Sumatra’s rainforests has pushed the Sumatran orangutan to the edge of extinction. With only around 14,600 remaining in the wild, the species is classified as Critically Endangered.
The Sumatran orangutan relies on forests, but the forests of Sumatra are under immense and mounting threat. They are being torn down for farmlands, logging, mining and roads. International demand for products such as palm oil and timber, combined with weak forest governance and short-sighted land-use policies are driving deforestation at an alarming rate.
Orangutan populations are left fragmented and isolated as roads and plantations divide up the forest. This makes them easy targets for poaching for the illegal pet trade, and causes conflict with local communities when the stranded and starving apes are forced to resort to raiding crops. (SOS)
The Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) is the only active orangutan rescue team in Sumatra. They regularly evacuate orangutans from condemned forests that are being torn down by bulldozers, then release them into safe habitat. (SOS)