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    Luke Keys

    “My work looks at the exploitation of the environment through sea lions acting as people. What once was a part of nature became the abusers of their land - of innocence being turned into greed and hunger, through colonisation, exploitation and pollution. Drawing a parallel between human and sea lion in my work. Much of my time is spent by the sea, pointedly in North Otago. At a river mouth, where a group of isolated NZ sea lions reside. Since this area is cut off from any roads or tracks, only people with property in the area can get to it and this allowed me to spend time alone with this group. When I first saw them I was astounded by their confidence and power, their humanness in their curiosity and force. They were never scared of me, as they didn't seem to know what people were. Eager to get up close and personal before scaring me away with their roars and boldness towards me. They were so unlike fur seals or any other wild animal I had encountered but far more aggressive, yet so strangely calm. I felt that I was invading their space and sanctity with my presence and I wondered how they felt about me. I never wanted to make their place my own. Through my work I reimagined them in a new light, to show their strength over nature around them, resembling humans and the power we hold over the places we reside. I have always felt close to nature, and recognised the problems we cause through pollution and exploitation of resources. I felt this would be a prominent theme to showcase through my work, as it's something I feel strongly about."

    Works by Luke Keys