From the highest point on Easter Island, one of its inhabitants could have stood and surveyed the entire known world. 64 square miles, a Pacific Island literally in the middle of nowhere, heavily treed when it was first discovered by its Polynesian settlers. Over many hundreds of years however, the population increased, and the trees thinned. The trees were used for food, shelter, firewood, clothing, canoes, rope, and for the Moai, the giant stone heads, whom the islanders worshiped.
The Polynesians brought three different animals with them when they came to their island. They brought chickens, which played a critical role in the islander’s diet. They brought domestic rats, which in hindsight was not good idea, because the rats ate the seeds which fell from the trees, and when a sapling did manage to take root, they ate all the leaves and killed it, thus preventing reforestation. They also brought dogs. The dog looks nervous, and he has a reason to be. His descendants do not long survive the felling of the last tree. As the trees disappear, nutrients are washed out of the poor soil, and the crops fail. When the last of the good wood was used up the islanders lost the ability to leave their Island, or to fish off shore. The overpopulated Island descended into starvation and warfare. Let us hope Easter Island is not our canary in the mine.
This painting has participated in the following International Exhibits;
“REAL?” ICO Gallery, New York, NY, USA 2008
Arcadia, The End of Time, Projekt 30, New York, NY, USA 2006
2nd Biannual National Juried Exhibition, American Juried Art Salon, Plano, Texas, USA 2006