In his latest immersive exhibition, Missing, intrepid artist and environmentalist Louis Masai tackles topical endangerment issues, calling for action in a moment of global crisis.
Missing showcases a selection of brand new paintings, sculptures and installations, each focusing on endangered animals in specific regions across the globe, from the South African penguin to the humble bumble bee threatened on our very soil. In his latest works, bees appear as agents for survival, stitching up patchwork plush toy versions of those animals soon to be missing from our biodiversity.
Missing follows from the success of Masai’s 2016 tour of the United States, The Art Of Beeing, where he painted over 20 murals of species under threat in 12 cities across nine states in just two months. A selection of the pieces in the new exhibition will be recreations from the large scale murals that Masai has created worldwide.
The show will be held in the one of the most atmospheric exhibition spaces in London, Euston’s Crypt Gallery, 25-27 May, with a private view on 24 May. Masai will combine paintings and sculptures with elements of interaction and immersion, plunging the viewer into a forest of trees, full of the scent and buzz of honeycombs.These elements highlight the immediacy of the issues at hand, problems that are much closer than we might otherwise think. Held in a space associated with death and burial, the exhibition takes on a poignant urgency; if we do not act soon, the consequences may be fatal.
Speaking about the exhibition, Masai says: "Climate change is in full effect, with one of the major factors being the '6th Mass Extinction'. Species are becoming extinct or missing in our biodiverse world.This is a real issue that we face as humans, and as an artist, I feel it’s my duty to draw attention to this issue.Through my work I hope to remind people of the urgency we face, highlighting our place amongst creatures who are a critical part of our delicate ecosystem”.
Works in the show include a specially created animatronic penguin built with a robotics specialist and three distinct bee sculptures, in bronze and in clear resin casts filled with dead bees and pesticides. Exclusively made CMMNTY t-shirts with designs featured in the exhibition will be on sale during the show, the profits of which will support Emmaus charity.
Additionally, exclusive limited edition hand finished Masai prints presented by Graffiti Prints will be released at the exhibition.These will be 51 main editions of the African penguin print as well as two variations of 23. Audience members will be able to handpick their favourite directly at the opening, on a first come - first served basis.
For centuries, we have been setting up physical and metaphorical barriers and borders between ourselves and the wildlife surrounding us. Masai’s work highlights the vast and potentially irreversible impact of our ways, in the hopes of catalysing a new way of being across all species, including our own.