The multi-generational artists of “Hamsters, Hedgehogs, and Hummingbirds” make a case for respecting, protecting and celebrating the animal world. The exhibition runs until December 17 at the Euphrates Museum of Art at the College d’Anza in Cupertino.
“Wrenching Raptor” by Force of Nature greets visitors as they enter, and also looks at delicate ceramic masks for potential prey. Made from hundreds of recycled tools and metal parts, it arrived in the museum straight from Burning Man 2022. The artist, this writer’s brother, was inspired by a suggestion from his daughter Gemma, who wants to be a vet, to create a sculpture that resembles a bird of prey.
Ceramic artist Janet Clements has worked as a zoo and small animal veterinary technician for 15 years and has worked with more than 250 species. Her artwork expresses her keen interest in animals in all their unique forms. At Refuge, a ring-tailed lemur hits a boat with a tenrec, a giant mouse, and a pink flat bug. “Cock-of-the-Rock” features a certain South American bird sitting on an old answering machine.
The Collectibles ceramics series by San Jose State University professor of art and design, Monica Van Den Dole, exposes animals in a variety of frustrating and unfortunate conditions, usually due to human influence. “Grey Day” and “Foundering” depict a squirrel and a donkey holding flames symbolizing the California wildfires in 2021. In “Ripe Bananas,” a monkey judges piles of fruit with a frown, a reference to contemporary politics. And in another article, weeping parrot “eye tears” destroy the rainforest.
Lydia Sanchez has adopted many Chihuahuas over the years from Muttville, a large dog rescue organization in San Francisco. As an art teacher at West Valley Elementary School in Cupertino, she leads third through fifth graders in creating a teamwork to thank Mottville for the work you do. Students also organized a schoolwide campaign and donated over 600 wanted items. Sanchez specializes in watercolor pet portraits, and the show includes paintings of a Chihuahua honey bee and Zumi.
Tom Franco, a native of Palo Alto, paints and builds sculptures using found objects, often in collaboration with other artists. Beaded birds and toy animals from around the world, tin cans and bottles, and recycled pieces of furniture feature painted scenes of horses, parrots, cows, bears, cats, goldfish and dogs.
Franco is the founder and director of the Firehouse Art Collective, a constellation of six community art spaces providing studios, community residences, and event spaces in Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, Reno and Paradise. He has five rescue dogs that often accompany him on his travels.
In Carolyn Crampton’s “A Diverse World” series, she imagines wildlife in spaces created by humans devoid of humans: a large brown bear stares directly at the scenes from an empty office in a high-rise building, geese roam whole food aisles, mountain lions gaze at a parked convertible cougar. In the red forests
Crampton has published three books about rabbits, including a humorous guide to understanding a pet rabbit, “The Language of Rabbits,” or “Are You Going to Eat That?” “
An intricate embroidered jaguar figurine by Aniceto Bautista Sotero is at the center of Joseph Rodriguez’s masking tape installation. Rodriguez, a De Anza graduate who recently earned a Master of Fine Arts, has been invited once again to create a temporary installation in response to Sotero’s traditional Huichol/Wixárika work. The bold, sweeping patterns drawn from the symbols on the Jaguar move across the floor and the pillars move like energy.
Bialy Samanta’s painting “Tiger Widows” talks about the effects of climate change on animals and humans in the Sudarbans archipelago in India. The salinity of the tides has caused the demise of the Sundari Mangrove, home to endangered species and the protection of many cities. Tigers lie on the ground while their habitat is being eroded. Women who lost their husbands to tigers are still fighting to preserve this special place.
For a shot of urban wildlife, Shriharsha Annadore clipped a space through the foliage of his home and spent several hours quietly observing a hummingbird’s nest. His close-up photo of a hummingbird feeding her six-day-old chicks recently won the Cupertino Mayor Prize.
Artist members of the Association of Fine Arts of Cupertino were invited to paint and decorate silhouettes of hummingbirds. The sculptural birds of Sarabjit Singh contain jewels and sprout leafy tails. Kalpana Adesara, a professional artist of mehndi (henna), incorporates lace-like designs on the wings of her creativity.
For other community artwork, high school students in a summer class at De Anza College painted a small mural showing different ecosystems and native animals. Endangered animal prints are also shown by middle school students.
Diana Argabriet is the Director of Arts and Schools at the Efrat Museum of Art, located at De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. , Cupertino. For museum hours and events, visit www.deanza.edu/euphrat.
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