Bat Art | Palmerston North hosts an exhibition on an endangered bat

Palmerston North hosts an exhibition on an endangered bat

Whanganui sculptor Angela Tier's Spook exhibition of a colony of small bat urns is to also help raise awareness that the mammal is endangered.

Tier says we may already have lost one native species of these tiny bats.





"The greater short-tailed bat was last sighted in 1965, and has been declared extinct - so we should do what we can to protect our remaining native species."

The pekapeka is our only surviving land mammal and threatened by habitat degradation and disturbance, as well as predation and competition from introduced mammals.

Around the world bats are as important to human survival as honeybees, pollinating forests and fruits, and eating insects that would otherwise need to be managed by harmful pesticides.

Tier's sculptural works are hand built using the coiling technique, in which coils of clay are gradually stacked and joined one on top of the other.

"I like working in the coils as it's a very old technique."

Measuring between 10cm and 16cm high, some of Tier's small bat urns are styled after existing bat species.

She has also created four large 'apocalyptic' bats, which will loom behind the 100 small bat urns, representing pestilence, famine, war and death.

Spook exhibition, March 1-31, Zimmerman Art Gallery, 329 Main St. Opening hours 11am-3pm daily.

To draw attention to the plight of our endangered native bats, pekapeka, Angela Tier has sculpted 100 small bat urns from coiled stoneware. Measuring between just 10 and 16 cm high, each bat is unique. Some are styled after existing bat species, while others are imaginary and playful, representing species not yet discovered.

Looming behind the 100 bats are four large apocalyptic bats, representing Pestilence, War, Famine and Death.

The installation is a reminder of the impact of humans on our environment. It is also a chance to reflect on the important role that even our smallest and rarely seen creatures play in our continued existence.

Artist’s statement

Bats! You may be scared if you saw a colony or cloud of bats pass overhead. You may think of blood-thirsty vampires or even rabies. Can you imagine a world without bats? Well, you most likely can. Living in New Zealand we rarely see them flying about at night.

Although bat sightings are uncommon here, bats make up almost one quarter of all mammals on the planet, and are essential to human survival. Just as important to humanity as honeybees, bats are pollinators for forests and fruits. They also help farmers by eating insects that would otherwise need to be managed by pesticides.

Bats are New Zealand's only native land mammals. There are three species: the long-tailed bat, the lesser short-tailed bat and the greater short-tailed bat. The first two species are at risk, while the third species is considered extinct, with no sightings since 1967.

Close to 100 species of bats are listed as endangered and vulnerable worldwide. This is due to many things, such as habitat loss, windfarms and introduced diseases. White nose syndrome is thought to have been accidentally introduced to a cave that tourists regularly visit and has subsequently spread through bat colonies across America. This disease alone has killed close to 600 million bats.

In New Zealand, habitat degradation and disturbance, as well as predation and competition from introduced mammals, are key factors implicated in bat population declines.

All the reasons why bats are under threat can be linked to one common factor: humans!

The changes humans are making have exacted a heavy toll on the natural world, and threaten the planet’s ability to provide for us all. The existence of life is a fine balance. It relies on wild species like bats to thrive, for other species (including humans) to survive.

This installation of 100 bat urns, and four looming apocalyptic bats, is a grave image of endangerment. It is a chance to reflect on the impact we have on our environment, and to consider those which we may fear, or allow to slip from our thoughts, as being vital to our continued existence.

Angela Tier – brief artist bio
Born in 1980, Whanganui-based artist Angela Tier holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction.

Tier’s sculptural works are hand built using the coiling technique, in which coils of clay are gradually stacked and joined one on top of the other. “I like working in the coils as it's a very old technique.”

Recent works have highlighted the plight of New Zealand’s extinct and endangered species. “It only takes a few centuries of human activity to have such an impact on the environment that we might lose these species forever.”

“Spook” is Tier’s first solo exhibition at ZIMMERMAN.

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BatsRule!: Bat Art | Palmerston North hosts an exhibition on an endangered bat
Bat Art | Palmerston North hosts an exhibition on an endangered bat
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