LOST SPECIES DAY 2021: A.mal Collective – In, Among and Between
26 November – 23 December
Photos in this online exhibition were taken by JP Miller, during his period as artist in residence with the Bolivian non-profit organisation Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) in 2019.
The Puma Concolor is known by many names: Florida panther, cougar, mountain lion, catamount, mountain screamer, red tiger, cuguacuarana, ghost cat. Mythologised and made sacred. Demonised and hunted. Pumas once ranged across the full expanse of the Americas, from Canada to the edges of Tierra del Fuego. Every day they are threatened by illegal hunting, habitat loss due to deforestation, encroaching human development, and the black-market pet trade.
At Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi, pumas – amongst many other species of wild animal – are rescued, rehabilitated and cared for. When release is not an option, dedicated staff and volunteers spend every day giving these animals the chance to live the rest of their lives in safety, with dignity and respect. CIWY is Bolivia’s leading organisation in the fight for animal rights and wildlife care, and they have been working tirelessly for over 20 years.
Many who go and volunteer at CIWYs sanctuaries are changed by the experience, this community entirely altering their understanding of what is possible, with few resources and very little support. ONCA was created because of this – a traumatised puma, named Wayra, and the people looking after her, taught Laura Coleman, one of those volunteers and ONCA’s founder, the true value of care, commitment and solidarity. Laura explores this in her memoir, The Puma Years.
Wayra passed away this year. This exhibition is dedicated to her memory, to all the animals at CIWY who have changed countless lives, and to those powerful humans fighting every day in Bolivia to keep those that remain safe.