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Sculpture, Animal Conservation and Climate Activism: An Interview with Sculptor Kristina Libby

Noah Becker

Jun 20, 2022

NOAH BECKER: What does making art that has animal imagery mean to you? Is there activism attached to this, or are you just drawn to animals as a subject?

KRISTINA LIBBY: Oh, it’s definitely activism-oriented, and I find it fun. There is a fair amount of research around how anthropomorphism actually helps with both animal conservation and climate activism or at least climate connectivism.

By creating a line of animal characters and sharing how these animals go on journeys to say, or search for a new home, because their home has been destroyed, helps us engage in a climate conversation in a way that is relatable and also builds empathy. But, it also helps raise questions ourselves about what we might have to go through when our homes become flooded, in dangerous fire zones, or we otherwise have to seek out a new place to live. But, you can do it in a way that is entertaining and encourages people to contribute to the world. And, there is research that shares how effective that can be versus the apocalyptic stories we often share.

BECKER: And the Chunkos?

The Chunkos are always struggling between being their big awesome selves and being appropriate or fitting into what society wants them to be. Yet, these animals literally make whole worlds and ecosystems just by being themselves.

The Chunkos have this underlying theme to LIVE BIG and be a full expression of themselves. That to me is also very activism-oriented but more to our larger social fabric. Two years ago, I made floral hearts to help bring awareness to our COVID losses and that work was pivotal to introducing COVID legislation. NOW, even a year before that, I wouldn’t have entertained my creative impulses to do something and yet, when I finally gave myself permission to be create and also be all the other parts of myself, I was able to create change. I think so many of us think we should just be one thing but then we are not being a full version of ourselves - and that is a disappointment to the world. Our full selves are what we need to change the world right now - more artists, more writers, more dreamers, and a lot more people doing the unique things they love, to create a world that is prepared and able to confront our shifting futures.

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