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“I was taking pics of pigeons in flight when this leaf landed on the bird’s face,” photographer John Speirs says in a description of his photograph “I Guess Summer’s Over!”, a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards. His delightful shot of a common park pigeon blindsided by autumn’s sudden and rather violent arrival is one of the many hilarious — and strangely relatable — images that made the cut this year.
Chosen from 7,000 entries, the overall winner was Ken Jensen’s portrait of a golden silk monkey landing, err, uncomfortably on a bridge that runs over the Xun River in Yunnan, China. Aptly titled “Ouch!”, the image captures its male primate protagonist attempting a “show of aggression,” Jensen explained, but his performance of patriarchal force painfully backfired.
Jensen received the top prize: a handmade trophy from the Wonder Workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which employs individuals with disabilities to create art using recycled waste, and a one-week safari trip in Kenya.
“It is such a great feeling to know that one’s image is making people smile globally as well as helping to support some fantastically worthwhile conservation causes,” Jensen said in a statement. The contest’s organizers donate 10% of their total net revenue, much it from print sales, to a different grassroots project each year; the latest round will support Save Wild Orangutans, an initiative to safeguard the endangered inhabitants of Gunung Palung National Park in Borneo.
In the category “Creatures of the Sea,” Chee Kee Teo’s photo is otter-ly heartwarming: “Time for school” depicts a smooth-coated otter mom biting her pup’s ear to help him wade back and forth during a swimming lesson. Judging from his comical wide-eyed reaction, “familiar to all parents worldwide,” according to the press release, the young student is anything but pleased by his teacher’s tactics.
Other unmissable highlights from this year’s contest include “Ninja Prairie Dog” by Arthur Trevino in the “Animals of the Land” category, an incredible capture of a majestic bald eagle seemingly deterred in its path by a tiny prairie dog; and Vicki Jauron’s adorable four-image series of a baby elephant bathing in the mud in Matusadona Park, Zimbabwe, ‘The Joys of a Mud Bath.”
Founded in 2015 by wildlife photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks, the competition aims to forge a human connection with the animal kingdom through humor.
“A funny animal photo is incredibly effective because there are no barriers to understanding, or taboos that must be negotiated,” says the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’ website.
The visuals tap into our sense of anthropomorphism, “well-documented as one of the most powerful triggers for human empathy. To really understand animals and the issues that affect them, you need to empathise with them as fellow inhabitants of the same planet.”
You can see all the winning photos for this year’s awards here.
To showcase this work exactly 500 years after Magellan’s conquest of the Philippines in a space that, 134 years ago, was a “human zoo” of Indigenous people from the Philippines, is certainly poignant.
Since 2014, Alison has been visually dissecting Monique Wittig’s novel The Lesbian Body, which theorizes the split subjectivity women experience in language, an inherently patriarchal structure.
This exhibition in Great Falls, Montana addresses the concept of intention in contemporary fiber art and its complex relationship with the history of women’s art as craft.
N.I.H., short for No Humans Involved, was an acronym used by the LAPD to refer to “young Black males who belong to the jobless category of the inner-city ghettos.”
Cha, who was murdered at 31 years old, explored the nuances of forced migration and language.
Explore new avenues in artistic practice and scholarship amongst a diverse cohort of peers while gaining leadership skills both academically and professionally.
Taping a banana wasn’t enough, so the art world had to do something even more stupid with food.
Stoner jokes, unexpected pop culture references, and an unlikely love story jangle against each other like charms on a bracelet.
In this exhibition, curated by Patrick Flores and presented by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Paiwan artist Sakuliu reflects on interspecies co-sharing and coexistence.
The plans for Munger Hall may just be the most ruthlessly efficient way to house 4500 students.
The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation says tribal leaders were not consulted regarding the relocation of the statue.
The autumn holiday of Sukkot continues to offer solace and community for new generations.