GALAPAGOS - Forty Days and Forty Nights- An Artists Sojourn

AFC Flag Expedition #10
Summary
Purpose/Mission: 
Kelly traveled to the Galapagos in late September of 2009 to spend 40 days studying, sketching and photographing the unique animals and plants of the Islands. Her objective was to bridge the gap between science and art through a purposeful expedition of field studies, photographs, and interviews with experts of the region.
Start/End Date: 
Tuesday, 29 September, 2009

Kelly traveled to the Galapagos in late September of 2009 to spend 40 days studying, sketching and photographing the unique animals and plants of the Islands. Her objective was to bridge the gap between science and art through a purposeful expedition of field studies, photographs, and interviews with experts of the region.

Objective(s): 

Expedition Objectives

The objectives of this expedition are as follows:

  • To partner in the preservation, restoration and enhancement of a globally imperilled ecosystem by inviting viewers into the world of Galapagos through the window of my art while instilling a global awareness of the challenges that Galapagos faces and that we ultimately all face.
     
  • To explore 10 of the 13 islands in the archipelago ranging from open sea and rock islets to the 6 distinct vegetation zones each supporting specific communities of plants and animals while observing, learning about and artistically documenting as many of the endemic and resident wildlife species as possible as they relate specifically to the habitat zones that sustain them and as they relate to each other both physiologically and behaviourally.
     
  • To contribute to conservation projects involving habitat restoration, ecological and human dynamic issues while learning as much as possible about the zones and the challenges they face facilitating my artistic field research for the duration of my expedition.Working with and under the supervision of biologists and environmental education instructors at the Jatun Sacha Foundation be directly involved in all aspects of daily life at the San Cristobal Biological Reserve.
      
  • To create a body of work with accompanying text that has a strong emphasis on environmental education while highlighting the conservation challenges each species depicted faces according to their IUCN red-list status. To acheive this, Kelly will work from flag journal studies, field notes and photographic/video reference.
     
  • To enrich youths in Galapagos with greater knowledge of their homeland and of the world and to continue to provide the same enrichment for inhabitants of own country and abroad. Privileged access and collaborative networking with Jatun Sacha will develop the artistic concepts and skills of the youth of Galapagos while familiarizing people of all ages with the sensitive ecology of the islands and the world, enhancing their own creativity and empowering them to stewardship.
Background: 

Galapagos is unique for many reasons including the isolated and diverse habitats, endangered species and due to the sensitivity of the environment is a strictly regulated and restricted area that few people will ever get the opportunity to experience first hand. This expedition will allow her the opportunity to study, document and catalogue though field studies, photography and speaking with local experts, various endangered species of plants and animals and to share these through her finished studio pastel and mixed media paintings. Kelly will be sharing her personal experience with the world in the hope of demonstrating the need for continued preservation and conservation of this area.

The subject of her expedition will encompass endemic and resident birds, mammals and reptiles of the 8 zones of the archipelago. A disturbingly high number of the flora and fauna are IUCN red-listed as endangered and vulnerable.She will be exploring 10 of the 13 islands in the archipelago ranging from open sea and rock islets to the 6 distinct vegetation zones each supporting specific communities of plants and animals. Her itinerary has been designed in such a way as to allow her to visit all the zones on 4 of the 5 inhabited islands and most of the zones on 6 uninhabited islands.

"My goal is to observe, learn about and document as many of the endemic and resident wildlife species as possible as they relate specifically to the habitat zones that support/sustain them and as they relate to each other both physiologically and behaviourally. No species exists on its own, we all exist as members of intimately related communities. The Galapagos is a unique community of species sharing the same unique environment in a social relationship so intimate that symbiosis between species is commonly observed.

I want to invite viewers into their world through my art as participants of this interconnectedness while at the same time instilling a global awareness of the challenges that they face and that we ultimately all face. I hope to share a message which will result in reflection of our own conservation behaviours with an understanding that we can make a difference."

  • recognized as a world heritage site by the member states of UNESCO - one of the worlds most significant natural     areas - 2007 added to their list of World Heritage in Danger.
  • 13 large islands, 6 smaller islands and over 40 islets of the most active oceanic volcanic region in the world embodying high levels of endemism representing the best conserved of the worlds tropical archipelagos.
  •  isolated from other land masses, straddling the equator with the nearest land, mainland Ecuador 960 km to the east.
  • the tropical sun combined with the cool waters of the Humboldt and Cromwell currents creates a unique mix of tropical and temperate zones which plays a key role in giving the islands a biota found nowhere else in the world. This convergence of currents results in a spectacular range of marine life which supports an array of seabirds, mammals and reptiles.
  • human activities since the 17th and 18th centuries and currently have resulted in substantial alterations in ecosystems with nearly 60% of the 168 endemic plant species close to extinction, threatened by goats and other introduced herbivores, competition from introduced plants and the destruction of their natural habitat. For example one species of Opuntia Cactus found only on Isabella is critically endangered. These cactus are a vital food and nesting source for a variety of vulnerable and endangered wildlife.
  • scores of vulnerable, threatened and endangered species currently on the IUCN red-list.