Neon Sculptures Illuminate Animals on the Verge of Extinction

A pop-up art exhibit sheds light on creatures threatened by consumerism.

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Jul 2 2017, 12:00pm

Prints and Photograph by Travis Emery Hackett

Reading "Last Chance" in flickering neon letters usually means only one thing: hold on to your credit card and get ready for the bargain of your lifetime. Not this time. A pop-up gallery in New York's East Williamsburg neighborhood wants to raise awareness about the connection between consumer behavior and the destruction of wildlife.

Inspired by an article in TIME, a Brooklyn-based creative collective comprised of Lindsey Eckwall, Rachel Newell, and Jade White teamed up with Pratt's Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator initiative (BF+DA) to set up a two-day "flash exhibition" on May 19, the annual Endangered Species Day, to highlight four creatures that face extinction as soon as this year. Among them are the Sumatran tiger, the long-tailed pangolin, the Amur leopard, and the black rhino that all might not survive 2017, because they are being killed for fashion, beauty, and home decor items.

Playing with the aesthetics of consumerism, the neon light sculptures by James Akers, Kacie Lees, Stephanie Lifshutz, and Keenan MacWilliam point to consumer impulses and the suggested urgency to buy, but in this case, it's the destiny of Earth's creatures that requires immediate action. To understand what consumers can do to change their impact on endangered species, BF+DA provides useful information about conservation efforts and resources needed for sustainable and ethical fashion and design.

Although the exhibition is no longer open (like every good flash sale, it too was short and sweet) you can still purchase the artworks, as well as prints by Travis Emery Hackett, online through July 31. Portions of the proceeds go to the BF+DA initiative and their sustainability resource center, the Sustainability Lab (s.LAB), that offers one-on-one consulting services for designers to develop an ethical and sustainable lifecycle for their products.

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