Believe it or not, our interests as children have shaped our careers, politics, and the passion we feel for certain causes. Just a quick look at our childhood heroes, favorite books, TV shows, video games, and other activities can say a lot about the person we grew up to be. Ryo Shimura found inspiration at a young age and a growing interest in the environment thanks to a single statue of a hippo he loved as a child. As a child the bronze statue of a hippo in a local park fascinated him, and as he grew, he learned about the great decline in hippo population. He also learned the unfortunate fact that much of it was due to poaching.
Ryo Shimura, via Spoon & Tamago
That statue inspired Shimura to find out more about endangered species around the world. He quickly realized that many creatures he found to be wonderful were quickly dying quiet deaths. Too many were unaware about the animals the earth is losing, much of which are being lost because of poor decisions made by men. Shimura’s artwork educates adults and children alike, not through scare tactics or shock, but by presenting animals that are close to extinction in amazing ways. Many of us have not heard of or normally see animals who don’t have much time left as a species. Shimura’s art makes them visible again, and compels viewers to ask questions about these animals. One of his projects is a rainbow of 36 different shades of crayons, all lined up and on display. These crayons, which any child could pick up and use, are in the shape of a meerkat. Because children are naturally curious, they are compelled to ask about the strange creature in their hand. It presents endangered animals in a safe and fun way and opens things up for a friendly discussion about this animal, which is endangered and close to extinction.
His latest work, 29000→600, is an homage to the bronze hippo he was fascinated with as a child. It is a display that illustrates the dramatic drop in wild hippo population, most of which is due to poaching and the destruction of their natural habitat. Cute plastic hippo figurines swim around in the display, but viewers quickly learn that the current population is only a fraction of what can be seen there. It’s a gentle eye-opener that reveals the true state of nature and practices that should stop. Shimura’s displays are often bright and creative. His message is woven carefully into each display, and he updates his blog frequently on new work. To see more, check out Spoon & Tamago
or visit his site