Sentenced to Extinction

Anna Staniorowska

2020

Sentenced to extinction is a strikingly powerful work, making visible the vast destruction currently happening across the earth with forest fires, the extinction of flora and fauna, and colonial and neocolonial devastation to Indigenous people. This has included the murder, rape and displacement of millions of people as their land, culture, identity, environment, livelihood and lives were and continue to be taken away.

This, Anna argues, is where the hope lies. Visually in Anna’s work, our attention is brought to the beauty in the bright colours of the functionally extinct Blue Macaw and the portrait of a Native American, which contrast with the flames of “capitalist exploitation of people and the planet”. Anna shows us that “the characters in my paintings, whether human, animal or plant, are full of dignity, despite their disturbing views of the future they do not want to give up”.

About the artist

Hello! I’m Anna, I am an art historian by education, specializing in the art of ancient Egypt, but my greatest passion is painting. I work in the kindergarten every day teaching children drawing and trying to make them more sensitive to nature and to the harm that man does to it. I believe that an appropriate response to the climate crisis combines all the demands of progressive movements.

How does this piece express intersectionality?

Anna’s work gives visibility to the extreme violence Indigenous people have had to and continue to face as a result of colonialism, capitalism and increasingly climate change. The loss and damage of the environment is inextricably linked to the lives of people as we all exist in a reciprocal relationship.

Anna wants their paintings “to be deeply concerned about what we might lose and thus inspire us to act.”, asking us not to look to unrealistic dreams of future technology, but not “act on the basis of what we have here and now”.

This involves coming together to dismantle colonial narratives and actions, to be actively anti-racist, and to understand how we are bound to the fate of nature to.

How can you act?

Learn more about the intersections with Indigenous people

Find, share and learn from resources about how to be anti-racist

Learn about the importance of biodiversity

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