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‘From Tooth to Claw’ celebrates animals and art

Auckland City Council

Media release

30 September 2008

‘From Tooth to Claw’ celebrates animals and art

On October 17, Aucklanders have the rare opportunity to see Auckland Zoo elephants Kashin and Burma paint, then hear a thought-provoking lecture on animals in art by Auckland Art Gallery art expert, Mary Kisler.

The zoo Conservation Fund fundraiser for endangered New Zealand native frogs will see Ms Kisler, Mackelvie Curator of International Art, present ‘From Tooth to Claw – the changing meaning of animals in art’.

But the 5.30 – 7.30pm event at the zoo’s Old Elephant House and Jamuna Plaza will first feature elephants Kashin and Burma painting – one of many  challenging activities they enjoy as part of their behavioural enrichment programme. After Ms Kisler’s lecture, their joint artwork will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. 

Ms Kisler, who’ll be focusing on the world’s real artists, says animals have featured in art since pre-historic times, yet their meanings have changed according to time, place and culture.

“Once, any large spotty cat was called a leopard, and even the famous artist Albrecht Durer had to draw his rhinoceros from other people’s descriptions.  The first giraffe was brought to Florence in the 15th century, and housed in the yard of a beautiful palace, but the poor thing banged its head on a carved gateway, and that was the end of that, but its image lives on in any number of pictures of Noah’s Ark,” says Ms Kisler.

The art curator will be sharing some of her favourite animals in art – from the awe-inspiring beasts found on the caves at Lascaux in France to Picasso’s use of the bull in Guernica, as well as more contemporary artworks. 

Tickets to ‘From Tooth to Claw’ cost $8 (includes glass of wine). A $2 transaction fee applies. A cash bar will also operate. Elephants Kashin and Burma will paint in Jamuna Plaza outside the Old Elephant House at 5.30pm (weather dependent). To book, phone (09) 360 3805 or book online at www.aucklandzoo.co.nz

The Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund will allocate all profits from ‘From Tooth to Claw’ to the global 2008 Amphibian Ark Year of the Frog campaign to support the conservation of New Zealand’s four native frogs - the most evolutionary distinct and critically endangered in the world. To find out more about Year of the Frog and the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund, visit www.aucklandzoo.co.nz   www.nzfrogs.co.nz www.amphibianark.org  and www.edgeofexistence.org

Auckland Zoo is an enterprise of Auckland City Council. It is home to the largest collection of native and exotic wildlife species in New Zealand (over 1300 animals and 179 species) and attracts over half a million visitors annually.  It is becoming increasingly well known nationally and internationally through the award-winning television programme, 'The Zoo'. At the heart of all Auckland Zoo's work and activities is its mission: "to focus the Zoo’s resources to benefit conservation and provide exciting visitor experiences which inspire and empower people to take positive action for wildlife and the environment". Auckland Zoo is a member of both the Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks & Aquaria (ARAZPA) and the World Association of Zoos & Aquariums (WAZA).


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