Laura Amethyst Mackenzie

Artist’s Statement

Colour Digital Photo Series – Who’s Who of North American Wildlife

My work questions land use and colonization using photo-based artwork in reference to realism and created mythologies.

Through photography, my subject of animals in fabricated settings asks questions. Epic depictions of taxidermied wildlife in sculptural and painted scenes show the animals as a facsimile of their former selves. The dioramas, a fantastic, colonial view of nature, were designed to draw visitors to a large outlet hunting store and, in the process, commodifying these animals. The showcase of these animals as an attraction has a sense of the otherworldly.

The wildlife depicted in this collection reference the real but suggest the ideal. A strange type of realism is created as these works portray an idyllic form of North American wildlife which is not easily available to view in the everyday landscape. The peculiarity of these highly staged dioramas fascinates me.

This photographic series examines the effects of simulation and presentation while questioning colonization, commodification and the complexities and interconnectedness of the relationships between humans and nature in a post-colonial landscape.

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