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MACACO ESQUILO (Squirrel Monkey)

Living with my family and our animals on our small farm taught me a lesson that was hard to accept but essential to understand: if you love nature and you want to be close to it, you have to learn how to accept and love death as it is an integral part of life. It was tough to live with my animals and love them to pieces, giving them as much freedom as possible while knowing that at any time something might happen to them. The more natural a life you give them, the more they are exposed to the cruelty of nature. And we witnessed this first hand: the fox became my nemesis, sneaking in to murder our beloved chickens
while our backs were turned. But we could not hate the foxes. These sleek, beautiful, elegant creatures were simply trying to survive in a world where humans were reducing wildlife's habitat. How could we hate them if we understand their own struggles?

We 'civilised' humans have created an environment for ourselves where we no
longer have to face the threats of nature. We are spoilt by a convenient disconnection between our modern lives and nature's dark side. On a day-to-day basis we barely give any thought to death. Perhaps this is why we find it so hard to accept when it comes crashing back into our lives.


I discovered this Squirrel Monkey skeleton at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. I chose to hide it in a mirror as a creepy surprise and the perspective from which it is painted increases the effect. But for me at least, for all its creepiness, I can still see the cute, furry monkey gazing back at me,reaching out for a cuddle.

Oil on board beneath mirror.

In vintage wooden frame.

H:33cm W:23cm

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