Safari is a photographic series inspired by the use of animal prints and imitations of animal skins and furs in everyday fashion. It questions the psychological background of the popularity of these prod- ucts, but also how is a seemingly trivial phenomenon like this acctually refflecting back our relation- ship to nature in present times.
Just like animals use their patterns, spots and colors of their skins and furs to merge with the envi- ronment in order to prolong their fleeting life for some time, humans mask every day in order to fit into social norms. However, clothes with wild animal patterns and designs are directly contrary to the norms and stereotypes for, unlike the gray and black garments, which are our most frequent clothing choices, tigers, leopards, snakes, are easy targets for the looks of the people around.
Animal prints, or better to say real animal skins and furs were something that was considered a status symbol in the tribal communities. It was a symbol of power, strength and experience of the ones wear- ing them, and often even, they evoked fear. Later on they became a symbol of prestige and elegance in haute couture. Today real animal skins are greatly substituted by various artificial, often cheap and accessible materials imitating them. This made it possibility for the majority to wear, and by wearing to feel, maybe exactly all the previously mentioned symbols, that were before reserved for the fortu- nate few.
What drives us to wrap up in the skin (imitation) of exotic and often dangerous animal species we maybe never even saw or know nothing or very little about? What kind of instincts and passions do certain animal patterns evoke in us? Can it be that this is a new way we humans show solidarity and belonging to the animal world in hope that we will find our forgotten roots in nature, we so much alienated from in the past century? Or, is it yet another way of endless human tendency to tame, con- quer and appropriate nature, until all what is left is a cheap synthetic imitation of it….
* No animals were harmed for the purposes of this project.
Artist's profile on ArtConscious: Milica Mrvic.
Zigutamve Photography webpage.