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June 13, 2018

Richard Tanner: Raising awareness through art

June 13, 2018

Richard Tanner was a senior studio art major when he collaborated with two Ugandan artists, Mutalib Ngomojik and Sophia Jingo, to create a 14-foot tall giraffe constructed from wire snares. The piece was unveiled in April at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum as part of the “Snares to Wares Spring Soirée.” The Institute for Quantitative Health Science and Engineering commissioned the life-size giraffe sculpture for the atrium of their new building on MSU's campus.

From left to right, Sophia Jingo, Mutalib Ngomojik, and Richard Tanner with the giraffe at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

It really is Mutalib and Sophia’s artwork. They built the head and wrapped the snare around the frame that I built. They have never had any experience building anything to this grand size.

We all work really closely, but sometimes it can be difficult because there is a bit of a language barrier. But, as soon as we tap into our common artist flow, then it is easy to understand one another; I rely on that.

We get so caught up in our own little worlds that we don’t realize what is going on outside of that. These are issues that I didn't even know were so serious. Just being informed and being able to see something that is life-size and has that Ugandan artistic feel, there is something so magical about this. The biggest thing that the giraffe will do is bring awareness to these issues and to the initiative.

The Snares to Wares initiative, a conservation effort  at MSU, was created by Robert Montgomery, assistant professor in MSU's Department of Fisheries and Wildlifeand director of the RECaP Laboratory, and Tutilo Mudumba, doctoral student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and part of the RECaP Lab.

Snares to Wares is a transformative conservation effort aimed at creating opportunities for residents of the village of Pakwach, Uganda, where young men often turn to the illegal snaring of bushmeat for basic survival. The Snares to Wares project works to remove wire snares from the nearby national park, thus protecting wildlife and generating employment and revenue for local at-risk residents who repurpose the snares to create sculptures of animals threatened by this illegal hunting.

Read more about the art project

To stay up-to-date on the giraffe and the Snares to Wares initiative, visit the Snares to Wares website or check out their Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Read more about Snares to Wares in the MSUToday feature