Ex situ conservation is the practice of raising rare species outside of their habitat, maintaining live organisms in manmade surroundings. The ‘Alalā (Hawaiian Crow) is a premier example of ex situ conservation, becoming extinct in the wild in 2002. One of the most endangered animals in the world, about 125 birds survive in captivity. In 2017, a dozen ‘Alalā were successfully reintroduced into native Hawaiian forests. This piece was inspired by my experience of witnessing 5 of the wild ‘Alalā in Pu‘u Maka‘ala on Hawai‘i Island in 2018.
Contextualizing contemporary views of nature with the past is my search for the authentic; natural vs artificial environments, wild vs cultivated, real vs synthetic, questioning the manmade organic. My investigations through art and documentary film delves into transportation, fluidity, displacement, the tension between man’s consumption and preservation of nature. This body of work draws upon the history and human fascination of Hawaiian birds, and disappearance and recovery of native species.