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A picture of three of the Love Letter panels.

Scimitar Oryx, Franklin's Bumblebee, Vaquita (before) 

linen, vanishing thread, gampi paper, chlorophyll ink, mourning pins 

Love Letters begins with simple line drawings of fourteen species designated as Extinct in the Wild or Critically Endangered. Each drawing is then embroidered with vanishing thread on linen squares. Below each rendering, a love letter is written to the pictured species. Words are written by hand in cursive with non-permanent ink made from chlorophyll. Images and texts are subjected to atmospheric elements, to water and light, precipitating their deterioration. The alterations are documented photographically.

          The project was conceived of in response to the weakening of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the previous United States government administration. The ESA is one of our nation's most effective and important environmental laws, representing our national commitment to protect the most susceptible of the earth’s flora and fauna. Despite scientific evidence substantiating the negative effects of climate change on vulnerable wildlife, these changes to the law inhibit regulators from considering this data. The updated rules also insist that economic impacts on oil, coal and other polluting industries are considered towards upholding existing protections and ratifying new ones.

          Love Letters presents a synthesis of representational imagery, material phenomena and text. Its subject, species on the verge of extinction, are presented as recognizable renderings, while the materials used in their depictions disintegrate in reference to their fragile states. The intimate declaration inscribed with chlorophyll ink, provides another material metaphor for species’ eradication, as it too, disappears from view.

          The subjects of impermanence and mutability remain at the heart of my creative pursuits as they are tied to my own material existence and the rapidly altering conditions taking place on a global scale.


- Valerie Constantino

This project has been created with the generous support

of a Research and Creativity Award from Sacramento State University.

Accessibility Statement.

Website design assistant: Denise Benitez

All images and texts that appear on this site, unless otherwise noted,

are the sole property of Valerie Constantino.

©Valerie Constantino 2021

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