For many the shock of Silent Spring was not that the chemical industry had run roughshod over the rules and poisoned our water, air, and soil.
For a large number of readers it was the fact that Rachel Carsen’s “fable for tomorrow” included a vision of the future that we didn’t want to imagine; our lives without birds, without their songs, their beauty, their plumage, their companionship, their resilience in the brutal city and in the great outdoors.
Yes, DDT was eventually banned in some countries – after its use was linked to damage to wildlife, birds, bees, agricultural and domestic animals – and to humans. 56 years after JFK included Silent Spring in his summer reading, his nephew won a lawsuit, the first of thousands expected, against Monsanto and RoundUp this summer – so obviously we’re slow learners.
Street Artist/fine artist Adele Renault understands our interdependence with the birds and with each other perhaps better than many, and “Feathers and Faces” carries the message powerfully by delivering these works she has done on city streets and galleries in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Helsinki, Moscow…
We saw her in Moscow just two weeks ago where she collaborated with photographer Martha Cooper on an installation for Artmossphere Biennale 2018, which BSA co-curated. In addition to her stunning wall painting of a pigeon and Martha’s photographs of her pigeon photos during the last 40 years, the two of them created a coop, named “Coop’s Coop”, and featured Adele’s painting of “Martha”, the last carrier pigeon – that died September 1914 and whose remains are now on display at the Smithsonian.
Clearly, there are more than six degrees of interconnectivity in this story and literally billions of stories across the world of our interdependence with birds.
We share this city with pigeons. We look to the same environment to supply us with what we need, including food, water, shelter – depending on physical factors like as soil, air, a temperate climate, other organisms. Adele studies our feathered friends and brings them full force to the streets, and we know that here only the scrappiest survive and get to display their colors.
Adam Eeuwens takes his worldview and interpretations of the ornithologists and merges them with a stark assessment of the significance pigeons have to us in his intro to Feathers and Faces.
“As a spirit animal in symbology, the pigeon represents the values such as home, and it’s attributes of love, peace, grace, care, security, foundation, fertility, and family, bringing an inherent sense of belonging. The pigeon is safest in a flock, with the strength and support found in the community and in communication.
The pigeon is determined, nothing will chase it away from food. And of course, the pigeons are messengers, of tidings that one must be open and receptive to, as it is the nature of this beast to hold blessings. Being aware of seeing a pigeon, whether awake or in a dream, teaches one to be resilient, to find the comfort of home within, to be cooperative, compassionate, resourceful, loving, and forgiving. It asks you to embrace change.”
Art on the streets is a state of continuous change and murals are redefining our cities, drawing our attention to issues somehow overlooked in our movies and media. Right now, today, the animal kingdom is being decimated and humans are being turned into refugees in an unprecedented number.
Our ecological interdependence is woven into our historical, cultural, sociological, political, physical, mystical, emotional existence. It is fitting that the resilient Adele Renault finds the details of perseverance and beauty in the lines of our faces and the sheen of their feathers and the determination in the eyes of us all. It is our nature.
Adele Renault. Feathers And Faces. Foreword by Carlo McCormick.
Feathers And Faces by Adele Renault was published in 2018 and is distributed in the United States and Canada by SCB Distributors.
Click on the link below for information on Ms. Renault’s one day exhibition tomorrow Sunday September 16, 2018 in Jersey City, NJ: