Not a photograph today, but rather a digital rendering of a pencil-drawn illustration by Dana Cromie, UBC Botanical Garden’s Artist-in-Residence. The drawing is the first piece that one encounters in Remnants: A Visual Survey of Human Progress, a newly-opened exhibit at UBC’s Beaty Biodiversity Museum. The exhibit contains a series of portraits by Dana, showing his “reaction to the ongoing reduction by human activity of natural habitat”. Twenty-six original drawings were letterpress-printed and hand cut into 1500 pieces. These were then reassembled into 5 massive collages. The collages are spaced apart over the length of the gallery space by the original drawings. I’m not particularly poetic, but the effect of the exhibit is much like the rhythm on an electrocardiogram, where each of the five collages is a heart beat punctuating the background electricity of the constituent drawings. I consulted with Dana, and we both agreed that the impact of the collages would be diminished if I used an image of one of those for BPotD–they do need to be experienced in person. My apologies to non-local readers of BPotD who won’t get an opportunity to visit and see the exhibit (but if you are local, do plan a visit to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum before April 20).
One of the reasons Dana chose to draw Carex interrupta is because of its rarity in the province. Green-fruited sedge is found in “sandy soils along rivers, occasionally wet meadows” in southwestern British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Exemplifying the theme of the exhibit, habitat loss due to agricultural and urban uses seem to be the primary drivers for the decline of this wholly underappreciated species.
Dana’s rendering is created from a herbarium specimen of this British Columbian red-listed species. Additional photographs of green-fruited sedge can be found in the Burke Museum’s image database: Carex interrupta (the species is more secure in Washington, but still on a Watch List; it does not seem to be a sensitive species in Oregon).