2021 EXHIBITION

© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

WHERE DID ALL THE ANIMALS GO?
GREAT NORTH MUSEUM: HANCOCK

Where did all the Animals Go? 2021 by Jane Lee McCracken exhibits printed vinyls of original Biro drawings by over 600 children from North East and international schools, who participated in Jane’s workshops.

© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

Through the visual art of drawing, one of the oldest forms of communication, these drawings portray some of the world’s most vulnerable species, many of which face extinction. Evocative and uninhibited, each portrait depicts an individual being that plays a vital role in its ecosystem, while contemplating what their eyes have seen. This exhibition provides an opportunity to form connections with each species, through the creative response of a generation of young people. Also on display are large format prints of Jane’s original Biro drawings Butterfly Lover and Khan.

© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

Founded in 2019, in partnership with international wildlife charity Born Free, and working with dynamic teams of educators and conservationists from England, Kenya, California, Guyana and Malaysia, Jane’s Where did all the Animals Go? Project aims to encourage the growth of collective responsibility towards wildlife conservation and welfare while giving children, communities and wildlife both locally and globally, a voice.

Amanda, Guyana © Jane Lee McCracken

Jane’s own practice explores loss generated by human destruction. She creates multi-layered Biro drawings, sculptures, installations and designs commercial products often featuring endangered species.

Khan 2021 blue and black Biro drawing © Jane Lee McCracken

Born Free works tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs… opposing the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigning to Keep Wildlife in the Wild.

Jackson, Kenya © Jane Lee McCracken

Great North Museum: Hancock is located in the heart of Newcastle and holds a wealth of collections, including natural history, archaeology, geology and world cultures. The museum was purpose built in Newcastle as a natural history museum in 1884 to house the growing collections of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. The Where Did All The Animals Go? exhibition will be held in the museum’s Living Planet Gallery, which contains many of the museum’s oldest and most-loved exhibits.

© Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

THE STORY

Following the Where Did All the Animals Go? (WDATAG?) 2019 pilot exhibition, over the last couple of years and throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Jane has worked with Born Free Education Team, Laura Gosset, Head of Education and Charlie Baker, Education Officer, the Great North Museum: Hancock Team and WDATAG? UK and international teams, co-ordinating the Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition.

WORKSHOPS

Between October 2020 and April 2021 Jane created and delivered virtual and on site workshops to participating children from eighteen schools listed in Acknowledgements section below, including ten North East England and two California schools, and trained Outreach Teams in Guyana, Kenya and Malaysia to deliver her workshops.

California Wildlife virtual workshop, January 2021

Thanks to funding from Born Free, Jane was able to send all participating UK and international schools packs of colour Biros and paper. Despite the many hurdles the COVID-19 pandemic presented, eighteen of the twenty workshops and resulting drawings were completed by end of April 2021. 

Each participating school was allocated a continent, region or country of species to draw, with international schools drawing species from their country or region. Working with Charlie Baker, Jane and Charlie, selected approximately 400 vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species along with a few other species that are near threatened or unclassified. 
 WDATAG? Digital Resource Book

Many species selected were chosen directly from the museum’s collection in the Living Planet Gallery. Species were also selected not only for their drawing appeal but to resonate with visitors to the exhibition with the aim of helping to create emotional connections with featured species and wildlife in general. Each school received a digital resource book designed by Jane, containing species information as well as images for children to use as inspiration for their drawings.

NORTH EAST ENGLAND

Image courtesy of Dr Meryl Batchelder: Abigail receiving tutoring from Jane during virtual workshop

Working with schools from across the North East, Jane delivered workshops to talented children from years 2 - 7. She allocated these continents, countries and regions to the following schools:

Y7 Royal Grammar School Newcastle: Asian species
Y2 Jarrow Cross C of E Primary School: African species
Y4 Mortimer Primary School, South Shields: Oceania species
Y3 & 4 St Mary Magdalen RC Primary School, Seaham: North American species
Y5 Our Lady & St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Newcastle: Arctic and Antarctic species
Y5 Bexhill Academy, Sunderland: South American species
Y7 Corbridge Middle School: Madagascan species
Y4 Beech Hill Primary School, Newcastle: Ocean species
Y4 Laurel Avenue Community Primary School, Durham: European species
Newcastle Bridges School, Great North Children's Hospital RVI: UK species

Oceania species by Y4 Mortimer Primary, South Shields © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

The majority of workshops were virtual, with equipment shipped prior to the workshops after which Jane collected each child's precious drawings. Mortimer Primary was the first school to participate in a virtual workshop making drawings of Oceania species. Jane delivered on site workshops to Laurel Avenue Community Primary, Durham, Beech Hill Primary and RGS. She created a workshop video for pupils of Bridges RVI hospital school with the school's art teacher Gillian Wrigglesworth assisting children with their drawings.

CALIFORNIA

California Wildlife workshops, Laguna Beach, February 2020 © Jane Lee McCracken

The opportunity to work with schools in California arose from Jane’s visit to Laguna Beach in February 2020 where her cousin Dr Kirsten Rogers (WDATAG? PR) organised a series of Californian Wildlife workshops for Jane to deliver to Orange County residents including children of the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach. These workshops assisted in the planning of international exhibition workshops.

Invited by the prestigious Laguna Art Museum(LAM) to participate in its annual Art & Nature festival, Jane also delivered a virtual Californian Wildlife workshop on 8 November 2020 children and parents. These drawings can be viewed in Wild Postcard Gallery: California Gallery.  Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education at LAM said of WDATAG? project:

"We loved being part of Jane’s wonderful and powerful project! Jane’s use of art to honour these beautiful animals is nothing short of transformative. Not only are the animals clearly present in the magnificent drawings, but so are the awe and admiration and concern of the artists. I know that Where Did All The Animals Go? will continue to be a force for good."

Drawings of Californian species by children of El Morro and Top of the World Elementary schools © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

California workshops for the exhibition were delivered by Jane, virtually in January 2021. In preparation for the workshops Kirsten and her daughters Nina and Rosie packaged individual sets of Biro packs and paper. Due to COVID-19 restrictions they set up a collection station outside their Laguna Beach home. Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal, PTA President, Top of the World Elementary and Liz Black, Family Engagement Chair, El Morro liaised with parents of participating children who then collected equipment prior to each workshop which they returned with completed drawings. 

Top left to right: Nina and Rosie packing equipment; Rosie with her Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle drawing; Rosie setting up Collection Station 
Bottom Left to right: Ace with Midnight and Cookie, Lily and her Grey Wolf drawing, Taylor with her exhibited Humpback Whale drawing © Jane Lee McCracken

During the two hour virtual workshops, Jane provided individual tutoring for each child. Ace and Poppy’s Guinea Pigs Midnight and Cookie delighted participants with their presence. Lily was a little nervous of drawing but worked exceptionally hard to create her extraordinary drawing of a locally endangered Grey Wolf. Taylor's outstanding drawing of a Humpback Whale was selected for exhibition in Orange County.

GUYANA

Image courtesy of Dr Kirsten Rogers: Kirsten and pupils of Linden High, Guyana

During her humanitarian mission in 2019 with the US Navy to administer dental treatment to communities in Guyana Kirsten met with Mayor Waneka Arrindell of Linden. In 2020 Kirsten contacted Mayor Waneka to invite her to provide Guyana schools with the opportunity to participate in the exhibition.

Top left to right: Mayor Waneka Arrindell; Dr Raquel Thomas; Arianne Harris
Bottom Left to right: Micah Davis Iwokrama Head Ranger; Reshma Persaud; Lezlene Daniels; Leonie Edwards © Jane Lee McCracken

Mayor Waneka subsequently contacted Dr Raquel Thomas, Director of Iwokrama International Rainforest Centre and alongside the Mayor, Dr Thomas and her colleagues, Arianne Harris, Rehana Ragoobeer and Reshma Persaud formed the Guyana Outreach Team.

Arianne Harris with pupils from Kurupukari Primary School, Fairview © Jane Lee McCracken

Raquel, Arianne, Reshma and Iwokrama Rangers visited Kurupukari and MacKenzie Primary schools and Hauraruni Girls Orphanage, where Arianne, a biologist, talented artist and WDATAG? first Art Ambassador delivered the Guyana workshops achieving tremendous results. For many children of Kurupukari Primary School, situated in the indigenous village of Fairview, in Iwokrama forest, this was their first art class. The ensuing drawings of rainforest species are astonishing.

Pupils of Kurupukari Primary, Fairview with their drawings; Arianne Harris delivering the Guyana Wildlife workshops © Jane Lee McCracken

Mayor Waneka Arrindell attended the MacKenzie Primary workshop with her children Mackayla and Micaiah, where she created her first ever Biro drawing, a beautiful portrait of a Guiana Spider Monkey.  Alongside the children, Raquel, Arianne, Reshma, Staff from Iwokrama and teachers and parents from all participating schools also created stunning drawings during the workshops, some of which are featured in the exhibition.

Pupils of MacKenzie Primary, Linden pupils with their drawings © Jane Lee McCracken

KENYA

Top left to right: Phoebe Odhiang; Ivy Malemba; Wild Postcard Gallery posterBottom: Edward and his Buffalo drawing and pupils of Esiteti Primary School, Amboseli with Losioki Somoire, Conservation Education Officer, African Conservation Centre

Born Free Kenya’s Phoebe Odhiang, Education Programs Leader and colleauges Ivy Malemba, Charles Njoroge and Elizabeth Yiambaine formed the Kenya Outreach Team in Summer 2020.

All WDATAG? Outreach Programs were given the opportunity to participate in Phase One of the project which entailed calling for people of all ages to create drawings of wildlife for WDATAG? Wild Postcard Gallery.  In October 2020 the Kenya team invited Kenyans to create drawings of Kenyan species. The response was overwhelming with Jane receiving hundreds of drawings which can be viewed in the Kenya Gallery alongside the UK, California and Guyana galleries here.

 Charles delivering workshop to children of NAC Nkiri Primary; Jackson and Clinton creating their Masai Giraffe and Cheetah drawings © Born Free / Jane Lee McCracken

In March 2021 Charles and Elizabeth delivered the Kenyan Wildlife school workshops following a virtual training session provided by Jane, Born Free Education and Born Free Kenya for teachers of Nkiri, Iloirero and Enchorro Primary Schools.

Top: Children of Enchorro Primary including Yiasi creating an African Elephant drawing Bottom: Elizabeth delivering workshop to children of Iloirero Primary; Jackson © Born Free / Jane Lee McCracken

During the workshops, children watched Jane’s drawing video and were mentored by Charles, Elizabeth, teaching staff and local artists to create the outstanding drawings that form the Africa section of the exhibition mural.

WDATAG? exhibition display of Kenyan species by Enchorro Primary © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

MALAYSIA

Left to right: Dr Melvin Gumal; Bistari Mahmood receiving art equipment

Having worked with Dr Melvin Gumal, Head of Biodiversity Conservation and Research Division, Sarawak Forestry Corporation on various conservation projects since 2014, Jane invited Dr Gumal and his colleague Bistari Mahmood, to form the Malaysia Outreach Team. Due to the pandemic Malaysia schools will complete their drawings for display later this year.

ARTWORK AND EXHIBITION

The walls of Great North Museum: Hancock are Grade II listed so the museum team requested the exhibition be displayed as printed vinyls in salon-style murals in the Living Planet Gallery. 

Jane's mockup for Great North Museum exhibition © Jane Lee McCracken

While Jane scanned UK children’s drawings with help from Christine Egan-Fowler, Artist-Teacher, RGS and Ruth Gibson, Art Technician, RGS, Outreach teams worked tirelessly to scan their children’s drawings. Dr Raquel Thomas forced into self-isolation at Iwokrama resorted to sending scans of Guyana children’s drawings on a memory stick by bus from the rainforest to Georgetown enabling Rehana to send them to Jane.  

 

Scans of children's drawings from across the globe © Jane Lee McCracken

Over 900 drawings were created during the workshops with Jane curating a selection of around 600 drawings for the exhibition. Scans were then cleaned by Jane with assistance from Ruth Gibson, Art Technician at RGS. 

Henry Y7 Corbridge Middle: Aye-aye CRITICALLY ENDANGERED © Jane Lee McCracken

The process of selecting vector frames for each drawing and positioning the image within the frame took Jane many weeks. Perhaps most testing of all was working out mockups for each school set. Each set not only had to work aesthetically alone but as part of the larger display.

Corbridge Middle mockup © Jane Lee McCracken

Folders of scans and documents of framed drawings and display mockups for each school were then sent to Simon Cataudo to create image files for printing as well as an introduction panel and information keys for each drawing set.

Information panel designed by Simon Cataudo

Colin Lowery then organised the printing of high quality vinyls. From 21 - 25 June, Colin with assistance from Jane, installed the exhibition as per her mockup plans.

Colin Lowery and Jane installing the exhibition at Great North Museum © Jane Lee McCracken

The week before opening, Jane finished Khan Biro drawing. Alongside the children's drawings, large format prints of Khan and Butterfly Lover, the second of her drawings are also exhibited in Living Planet Gallery. Where Did All the Animals Go? exhibition is on permanent display at Great North Museum: Hancock. 

Living Planet Gallery Ground floor with Khan print and exhibition panels designed by Simon Cataudo © Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums / Colin Davison

ENDANGERED SPECIES CONFERENCE 

Born Free education Team organised the Endangered Species Conference aired as a webinar on 2 July. Hosted by Jane, the conference featured illuminating presentations by Will Travers OBE, Co-Founder, Born Free, Phoebe Odhiang, Born Free Kenya, conservationist Manny Mvula, the museum's Ruth Sheldon and young conservationists Abi and Thea. The conference can be viewed here. A downloadable PDF of the project's 12 Ways You Can Help Wildlife is available here.

Endangered Species Conference: Top left to right: Will Travers OBE, Co-Founder Born Free; Phoebe Odhiang Born Free Kenya Middle left to right: Manny Mvula; Thea Caine Bottom: Charlie Baker, Born Free Education Officer © Born Free / Jane Lee McCracken

VISITS

During the first two weeks of July, Jane met with teachers and children from seven of the participating North East schools, to show them round the exhibition and museum. For many, this was the first school trip since lockdown 2020 and the children were elated to see their drawings and art by children from across the world on display, as well as experience the museum’s renown exhibits. St Mary Magdalen Primary joined Jane in the museum via Zoom to see their drawings on display virtually. 

Images courtesy of Mortimer Primary and Corbridge Middle schools

COMMENTS BOOK

The following comments were written by children whose drawings are displayed in the Where Did All the Animals Go? 2021 exhibition:

LAUREL AVENUE COMMUNITY PRIMARY

 

OUR LADY AND ST ANNE'S RC PRIMARY

 

CORBRIDGE MIDDLE SCHOOL

 

MORTIMER PRIMARY

 

BEECH HILL PRIMARY

 

ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL NEWCASTLE 

 

QUOTES

Jane Lee McCracken, Artist and Where Did All the Animals Go? Founder, said:

“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, Born Free Education Officer, 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.”

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.”

Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education, Laguna Art Museum said:

"We loved being part of Jane’s wonderful and powerful project! Jane’s use of art to honour these beautiful animals is nothing short of transformative. Not only are the animals clearly present in the magnificent drawings, but so are the awe and admiration and concern of the artists. I know that Where Did All The Animals Go? will continue to be a force for good."

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.”

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

PARTNERS
Jane Lee McCracken: Artist and Where Did All the Animals Go? Founder, Project Lead and Curator
Born Free: Education Team
Kirsten Rogers: Project PR/California Outreach Team
Great North Museum Team
Print and installation: Colin Lowery
Design: Simon Cataudo


UK EDUCATION TEAM & NORTH EAST SCHOOLS
Christine Egan-Fowler: Artist Teacher, Royal Grammar School Newcastle
Ruth Gibson: Art Technician, Royal Grammar School Newcastle
Linda Peacock: Arts Co-ordinator, Jarrow Cross C of E Primary School, Jarrow
Katie Lawrenson: Art & Technology Co-ordinator, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields
Karen Allan: Teacher, Mortimer Primary School, South Shields
Sara Punshon: Arts Co-ordinator, St Mary Magdalen RC Primary School, Seaham
Sandi Letton: Arts Co-ordinator, Bexhill Academy, Sunderland
Ian Ramsey: Art Lead, Our Lady & St Anne's Catholic Primary School, Newcastle upon Tyne
Dr Meryl Batchelder: Subject Leader for Science, Corbridge Middle School, Corbridge
Liz Scott: Science Co-ordinator, Beech Hill Primary School, West Denton
Chris Lawson: Science Co-ordinator, Laurel Avenue Community Primary School, Durham
Rebecca Neillis: Department Education Co-ordinator, Newcastle Bridges School, Great North Children's Hospital RVI, Newcastle upon Tyne
 
GUYANA OUTREACH TEAM & SCHOOLS
Mayor Waneka Arrindell: Linden Mayor and Town Council
Dr Raquel Thomas: Director Iwokrama International Centre
Arianne Harris: Biologist, Iwokrama International Centre and WDATAG? Ambassador Artist
Rehana Ragoobeer: Human resources Co-ordinator, Iwokrama International Centre
Reshma Persaud: Biologist, Professional Development Fellow Iwokrama International Centre Consultant
 
GUYANA SCHOOLS
Kurupukari Primary School, Fairview
MacKenzie Primary School, Linden
Hauraruni Girls Orphanage, Georgetown
 
CALIFORNIA OUTREACH TEAM & SCHOOLS
Danelle Hickman: Education Outreach Manager, Ocean Institute California
Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal: PTA President, Top of the World Elementary
Liz Black: Family Engagement Chair, El Morro
 
CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS
El Morro Elementary School, Laguna Beach
Top of the World Elementary School, Laguna Beach
 
KENYA OUTREACH TEAM
Phoebe Odhiang: Education Programmes Leader, Born Free Kenya
Ivy Malemba: Marketing and Communications Officer, Born Free Kenya
Elizabeth Yiambaine: Education Officer - Amboseli, Born Free Kenya
Charles Njoroge: Education Officer - Meru, Born Free Kenya
 
KENYA SCHOOLS
Nkiri NAC Primary School, Meru
Iloirero Primary School, Kajiado
Enchorro Primary School, Kajiado


MALAYSIA OUTREACH TEAM
Dr. Melvin Gumal: Head of Biodiversity Conservation and Research Division, Sarawak Forestry Corporation
Bistari Mahmood: Head of Community Engagement & Service Initiatives, Sarawak Forestry Corporation
 
Primary children of Sarawak