A talented local artist is using her photography skills and a bit of imagination to create a range of new show stopping works, which are hoping to shine a light on the plight of native wildlife.
Karen Alsop from Story Art Studio and Gallery in Guys Hill has launched her new Australian wildlife series, which takes some of our best-loved cute and cuddly creatures and reimagines them into a more human setting – in particular, focusing on homeslessness.
Her most recent work, ‘Homeless Wombat’ is the second in the series and follows on from her first piece, ‘Homeless Joey’.
Through her new series, Ms Alsop decided to use homelessness as a way of bringing peoples’ focus to the many orphaned animals often left to fend for themselves in the wild, and ways in which people can help prevent this.
“There are many local wildlife rescuers that volunteer and work tirelessly, often at night to go out and rescue babies that are viable and can be saved,” Ms Alsop said.
“‘Homeless Wombat’ is created to bring awareness to the public about the plight of our national wildlife- but I wanted to do it in a way that wasn’t gruesome.
I wanted people to first look at it and think ‘that’s cute’, but then take some time and realise the meaning behind it and discover more each time they look at it,” she said.
Working with a green screen and real props and animals, Ms Alsop enlisted the help of local wildlife rescuer Lyndel Chalmers from Pakenham Upper rescue group ‘Locky’s Legacy’ for the making of ‘Homeless Wombat’.
Ms Chalmers brought two of her rescued wombats along for the project and helped keep them calm and guided them during the photo shoot.
Ms Chalmers said that it was great to be involved in the project, as she believed it was an important message to share with the community.
“I find it very sad that there are so many animals left on the road unchecked, and so many orphans left on their own in the wild with no parents to protect them and feed them,” Ms Chalmers said.
“These orphans are essentially homeless – but they can be helped,” she said.
Ms Chalmers said that one of the wombats who was part of the photo artwork had been rescued from the Cockatoo area after a car accident killed her mother.
“The bigger one, the darker coloured one, was actually hit by a young man.
He accidentally hit her mum and was very upset that he’d killed her, but he did notice the baby was running after her, so he rang a wildlife carer and quickly grabbed her and took her to get help,” she said.
Ms Chalmers said the young man had done the right thing and probably saved the young wombat’s life.
She encouraged more people to do the same and if you see a dead animal on the side of the road without a cross on it, give a wildlife rescue centre a call.
“If it’s late at night or you have a chance to save a baby, wrap it up, keep it warm and then we can help it,” she said.
“The little babies are scared, and the ones with no fur won’t bite you – they’re just stunned and they’ve just lost their mums.”
“That way, they get a second chance.”
Ms Alsop is already planning her next piece in the series, which will focus on the beloved koala.
She hopes in the near future to gain some arts funding for the project, so that eventually, the series can feature a wide range of Australian wildlife.
To see more of Ms Alsop’s magical works, visit https://storyart.com/ or head to her Guys Hill studio in person, at 2 Montuna Grove.