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The Tortoise and hare: An Ecologically True Story - Rethinking a Fable
11/29/2017 08:00 AM - 12/30/2017 06:00 PM ET
Exhibition Open from November 29th to January 30th at the Berry Center on 10th St. & East Lewis
Reception November 29th from 5:30PM to 7:30 PM - Berry Center Atrium Gallery
In "An Ecologically True Story: Rethinking the Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare," artist, writer, and naturalist Bethann Garramon Merkle explores the role stories play in our attitudes about cultural and ecological topics. Merkle will give a reading during the opening reception, scheduled for November 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The tale of a seemingly unfair race between Tortoise and Hare is familiar around the world, particularly in places where actual tortoise and hare species coexist. However, the interpretations of the tale vary widely from culture to culture, as do the conservation issues these animals face. Through multimedia, including illustrations, monotype prints, 3D replicas, and museum specimens, Merkle has organized an intimate look at two places where tortoises and hares coexist - Kenya and the deserts of southern Arizona. Interactive displays, audio (bring your headphones!), and text draw viewers into a world where folklore, contemporary human activities, and scientific perspectives enrich and complicate.
While the ecological and cultural histories of tortoises and hares go “way back,” Merkle's story overlapped with theirs much more recently. in 2014, she signed up for an online children’s book illustration workshop – the assignment was to draft storyboards (sketches of page designs) for a classic tale. In search of something that could be portrayed accurately, ecologically speaking, Merkle stumbled across the fact that tortoises and hares co-exist in Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. She then learned tortoises and hares co-exist in several ecosystems. Ever since, she's been visiting these places, piecing together ideas, distribution maps, and stories that span the globe. Since hares and tortoises coexist on every major landmass except Australia and Antarctica, Merkle's project is still underway. Thus, "An Ecologically True Story: Rethinking the Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare" is a mid-project exhibition. For additional information, visit https://ecologicallytruestory.org/tortoiseandhare/.
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