Artist's animal sculptures are encumbered with weight of miniature civilizations

Maico Akiba
© Maico Akiba

It's been said that culture is a set of stories that we tell ourselves over and over again. Ostensibly, our culture is one that is based on the shaky presumption that civilization, progress and growth at any cost is inherently 'good'. But with declining biodiversity of all kinds, global ecosystemic degradation and human-driven climate change, this cultural keystone is now finally being questioned, through activism, changes in societal habits, and also through art.

Showing how nature has metaphorically and literally borne the brunt of human activities, Japanese sculptor Maico Akiba uses toy animals in finely detailed works that jarringly juxtapose the wild with the man-made.

© Maico Akiba

Using model-making materials derived from toy train sets, Akiba's works are an evolution of the Japanese people's love for the miniature, be it bonsai or extremely small but well-adapted living spaces.

© Maico Akiba
© Maico Akiba
© Maico Akiba

Titled "Sekai" (Japanese for "world"), Akiba's sculptures feature mundane but environmentally impactful things like utility poles, concrete buildings and cars -- all riding on the backs of bears, turtles and hippos -- alluding to the spectre of endangered species and mutual extinction. Like the Native American story of Turtle Island, Akiba's artistic vision illustrates how our civilization does truly rest on the back of the animal kingdom.

© Maico Akiba
© Maico Akiba
© Maico Akiba

Simple but provocative, the micro- and macro-scopic scale of "Sekai" invites us to examine our relationship with nature much more closely. See more over at Maico Akiba's website.

Tags: Animals | Artists | Arts | Japan

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