Where Did All the Animals Go? Exhibition Completed

After 2.5 years in creation, Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition is finally completed following COVID-19 delays! 700 global schoolchildren’s wildlife drawings are now on permanent display at the Great North Museum: Hancock, UK 

Jane Lee McCracken, Artist and the Founder and CEO of Drawing for the Planet charity founded the project working in partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free, to give children and vulnerable wildlife a voice.

Featured image: Jane installing the Malaysian children's drawings; above: image courtesy of Great North Museum: Hancock

Despite difficulties in delivering the Malaysian children's drawing workshops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the now completed exhibition can now be viewed in the museum's Living Planet Gallery. The additional 100 Malaysian children’s drawings each featuring an iconic Malaysian species, including the orangutan, join the 600 drawings by children from North East England, USA, Kenya and Guyana, which have been on display since 2021.

Rowan, Reuben and Elizabeth with their drawings from 19 April workshop

To celebrate the exhibition completion Jane delivered a wildlife Biro drawing workshop at the museum on Tuesday 19 April 2022, 11am – 3pm for the public to create drawings of Malaysian and other globally vulnerable species.

Image courtesy of Born Free

In addition to the exciting completion of the exhibition at GNM, on 4 April, Jane was invited by Born Free to deliver a lion drawing workshop to 54 children from Burnopfield Primary at its Born Free Forever exhibition launch. She was accompanied by Born Free Co-Founders Virginia McKenna OBE, Will Travers OBE, and Junior Ambassador Thea Caine. This exhibition can be viewed at Exhibition Park, a stones’ throw from GNM until the end of June.

Image courtesy of Great North Museum: Hancock

Where did all the Animals Go? features vinyl prints of children’s original biro drawings, depicting some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species. The exhibition aims to encourage the growth of collective responsibility towards conservation while giving children and vulnerable wildlife a voice.

Artist Jane Lee McCracken, Founder and CEO of Drawing for the Planet founded Where Did All the Animals Go? Art and environmental education project in partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free in 2019. Working with educators and conservationists, including Dr Melvin Gumal Head of Biodiversity Conservation and Research Division and Bistari Mahmood Head of Community Engagement & Service Initiatives at Sarawak Forestry Corporation who formed the Malaysia Outreach Team, to inspire schoolchildren in England, California, Kenya, Guyana and Malaysia to create the vast collection of impactful and moving drawings, the exhibition took over two and half years to complete with 29 schools participating including 10 North East schools and a school from the Iwokrama rainforest, Guyana.

Also on display are large format prints of McCracken’s original biro drawings Butterfly Lover and Khan

Khan 2021 blue Biro drawing, Jane Lee McCracken

Jane  said:

“I am over-joyed to complete the exhibition and install the astonishing drawings by Malaysian children. It has been a tremendously inspirational and moving journey to completion and I’m so proud of all the children who participated in my workshops and created amazing art to help raise awareness of vulnerable wildlife.

Through drawing, education, and the opportunity of self-expression, I hope to generate individual compassion towards animals and the environment while encouraging collective responsibility to further cherish and conserve the planet’s remaining wildlife for future generations: if we care we want to conserve.”

Charlie Baker, Education Officer at Born Free, said:

“Born Free are thrilled to be partnered with the Where did all the Animals Go? project. It is so exciting to have seen how engaged children across the globe have been, drawing and learning about both iconic animals, and lesser-known endangered species.

“On every continent wildlife is coming under increasing pressure from habitat destruction, unsustainable exploitation of resources and human-wildlife conflict. This project inspires children to care for all our wild neighbours and understand their importance within the natural landscape, from the African Lion to the Giraffe Weevil.It is wonderful that despite all the challenges faced, children from all over the world have their artwork displayed for all to see.”

Dr Kate Holden, Learning Officer at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:

“We are delighted to showcase the work of children from North East England and around the world in our Living Planet gallery. Their reflection on the state of nature highlights the need to act now to secure the future of the planet they are inheriting.”

Dr Meryl Batchelder, Subject Leader for Science, Corbridge Middle School, said:

"Where Did All the Animals Go?” is one of the most engaging enrichment projects I’ve had the pleasure to work on with my pupils. We’re so excited to be able to visit the exhibition of artwork at the Great North Museum: Hancock.”

Watch the exhibition video:

Where did all the Animals Go? is open daily with free entry. Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm. Saturday, 10am – 4pm. Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

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