MA Project

Pray for Reconnection

- Creating discussion about biodiversity through ritual -

Biodiversity loss is one of the most urgent issues in the world. The last 50 years has seen rapid development of new technologies and changes in people’s lifestyles, which impacts adversely on many other species through habitat loss, food shortage, global warming, and pollution. More and more species are becoming endangered and in the UK  there are 67 birds on the UK red list for Birds. This represents one in four of UK bird species that are in rapid decline, requiring ‘special measures to increase their population. This MA project ‘Pray for reconnection’ has explored how creative design and making can be used as a catalyst for discussion and raising awareness about this problem.

The project’s starting point was a Japanese word ‘Mottainai’ which keeps coming back whenever Yuka discards rubbish that still has life or beauty. This word, derived from Buddhism, is expressed when an object or a person does not deserve to be treated in such a way.  Habitual thoughts, words and actions unconsciously form our core values. She believes empathetic and respectful approach towards other species has always been important for co-existing since humans are a part of the nature.

As a way in narrating bird species’ current situations and their necessity, she explored human habits and rituals. She is interested in how the act of votive offerings prevails in various eras and places, and how human beings pray in many cultures to ask for the power beyond them. By incorporating human habits into the design, she aimed to create objects that viewers not only understand the story as information, but that also evoke viewers empathetic feeling towards birds.

The installation is composed of figurative birds that are hanging objects or jewellery. All the birds are designed to present their vulnerable states:  hanging bird objects in their falling position with Japanese votives in red, the brooches with down-ward arrow, bird’s rings are linked with habitat/food rings with a chain which symbolize the urgency of their reconnection. Hanging jewellery is displayed as an installation but viewers can wear them using their imagination to create empathetic feeling towards the bird species.

The lapwing series consists of three rings. They have differences and similarities in colour, size, form, materials and finishing touches to represent the state of lapwings of each period. Abstract expression is expected to repeat in viewer’s/wearer’s mind and works to appeal their emotions as an experience.