Louis Masai’s Sixth Extinction exhibition explores endangered species in the US

London-based artist Louis Masai is spreading the message about endangered species through his brilliant, bold and colourful pieces of art.

Whether that message is “downloaded” to viewers via Louis Masai’s murals of endangered species – such as bees, polar bear, blue whale, curlew, tiger, hummingbird, Sumatran Orangutan and Boeseman’s Rainbowfish – on walls across streets in New York, London and California, or his paintings in galleries, what is for sure is that Louis Masai’s art is engaging, informative and enlightening. They are also a force for change, inspiring action by those who view his art.

A selection of Louis Masai’s artwork is currently on display at LA’s C.A.V.E. Gallery. The exhibition, entitled Sixth Extinction, looks at animal species that are endangered in the United States.

Hovering in each piece Louis Masai includes a bumblebee stitching up the patchwork quilt that supports the endangered species. The bee is symbolic of humanity coming together to help restore the health of the planet.

Louis Masai says: “I have chosen bumblebees as an emblematic element in my work because they are iconic to the UK and I identify with them as the artist. The concept behind the bees doing the stitching is to remind humans that they have a role in keeping the planet stitched up. The endangered species depicted represent the effects of climate change, habitat loss and the introduction of invasive species.”

The artist adds: “My plea to the viewer is to think more like a bee and acknowledge that you too are a species and will be affected by the sixth extinction. Let’s be more bee-like and fix this mess. Perhaps if we see ourselves as an interrelated species then we might become more understanding of the importance of ecological relationships and the balance of nature.”

“Human” names have been adopted by the artist, throughout his collection of artworks on display at the C.A.V.E. Gallery, specifically as to encourage the viewer to see the animals in a more humanised manner. In doing so, he hopes the viewer might be encouraged to see himself or herself also as an affected species.

The stunning artworks, which are painted using acrylics on to reclaimed wood, feature symbolic, tribal and pop art-style prints adorned by endangered species such as the American Jaguar “Clark”; the Grey Wolf, given the human name of “Crystal”; and the California Condor, “Jacqueline”. Each of the pieces give information on the level of extinction – ranging from critically endangered to vulnerable.

Louis Masai explains: “My subject matter focuses on animals but always strives to find a human reference to juxtapose an element that might not be previously obvious. For example with my show, Afrofabrication, I entwined fabric patterns to the animals in an attempt to comment on a human desire to cover up, or indeed use flamboyant colours, to attract a mate.

“Last of my kind documents critically endangered birds with references to extinct musicians. The idea for this series of work was to question why humans often fail to recognise a disappearing species yet mourn the death of a celebrity.”

Sixth Extinction exhibition is on at LA’s C.A.V.E. Gallery from now until 4 June

Louis Masai

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com

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