The Night Safari’s Art Seen & Herd! was launched on Jun 5 and extends to July 15 in celebration of World Environment Day.

“Art is a powerful form of expression that can unleash a lot of emotions without the need of words… street art is energetic, expressive and genuine,” said Ms Isabel Cheng, chief marketing officer of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

The artists had been briefed to come up with their own interpretations inspired by the threatened animals to pass on the need to protect animals from unscrupulous exploitation. Michael Ng (‘Mindflyer’), Luthfi Mustafah (‘The Killer Gerbil’), Eman Jeman (‘ClogTwo’), and well as Samantha Lo (‘SKL0’), are well known locally for their street art. Armed with spray cans and paints, they made use of graffiti and illustrations to create expressive works of art in their signature styles to illustrate the severity of animal poaching.

“[We] aim to reach out to youths in our continual mission to inspire an appreciation for wildlife and spread the message on the importance of conservation,” explained Ms Cheng at the media launch.

As of last year, 801 animal species are extinct and 3,879 kinds of animals are critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund statistics.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast or animal fanatic, you’ll enjoy this quartet of unconventional pieces of craftsmanship.


Plight No More by Michael Ng (‘Mindflyer’)

Addressing the brutality of bear bile farming, Michael sends a message of hope and bravery as his quirky and surrealistic work portrays the plight of Asiatic black bears.

“A group of tiny spacemen are busy at work, trying to free a helpless Asiatic black bear from a bear bile farm by cutting off the chains and attaching wings to help it fly away to safety and sanity,” described Ng to the media.

This particular breed is hunted for its body parts, specifically the gall bladder, paws and skin. Confined in a tiny ‘crush cage’ that leaves it trapped without room to move, the bear’s paws are amputated and a thick needle is inserted and left permanently in its abdomen to extract its bile juice for the rest of its life. This liquid is then sold as medicinal ingredients that supposedly helps to supplement the liver and improve one’s eye sight. Rendered helpless, the bear is driven to insanity and tries to commit suicide by banging its head against its cage or goes on a hunger strike. Bears who survive live in prolonged torture until it dies of early age due to infections caused by its open wounds.


Turn A Blind Eye by Luthfi Mustafah (‘The Killer Gerbil’)

Luthfi’s artwork toys with the fluidity of interaction with its viewers. Made of wooden blinds, the splatters of green represent sprawling woods that the Asian elephants once inhabited. As the blinds are turned, the words “Stop Habitat Destruction and Ivory Trade” appear, as if revealing the elephants’ anguished cries for help. Turn the blinds once more and the outline of an elephant made in shades of red and orange replaces the solemn letters, signifying the grave end of the Asian elephants as they surrender their lives to illegal trade and habitat loss.

The Asian elephants find themselves increasing scarce as they fall victim to deforestation and cruel poachers who engage in the unregulated exchange of ivory tusks, elephant hide and meat. With fewer than 32,750 wild Asian elephants remaining, man’s senseless slaughter has pushed these animals increasingly closer to the brink.

A dire and alarming message that strikes one in the heart like fangs aiming for the jugular, Luthfi’s provocative art reminds us that the issue of extinction is urgent and real.


Save The Game by Eman Jeman (‘ClogTwo’)

Inspired by retro childhood games like Super Mario Bros., Eman played with the idea of pixels and came up with his concept of ‘game’. “Like a game, the fate of the Indian rhino results in a win or loss,” explained Erman.

Distinguished from other types of rhinoceroses by its single horn, that unique feature is, ironically, its downfall as the Indian rhinoceros is pervasively hunted its value to  the China market. The horn, used in traditional medicine, is believed to have healing properties and can cure everything “from rheumatism to cancer”, despite being scientifically proven that it’s made from keratin, which, essentially, has “about as much medicinal value as chewing one’s fingernails”, according to

Eman’s concept is simple but powerful – a subtle message hidden behind the adorable and seemingly innocent façade that’s relatable and understandable by both children and adults alike.


Bai Swee by Samantha Lo (‘SKL0’)

Samantha ponders the phrase “Bai Swee” [a Hokkien expression for only for show or display purposes], asking if the once dominant Malayan tigers have degenerated to become merely “puppets of the human race”?

As forests are levelled for agricultural and commercial purposes, these majestic felines are losing their homes to human urbanization. On top of that, they have to contend with illegal hunting for their whiskers, eyes, claws and fats for various purposes from relieving toothaches to rheumatism.

“Bai Swee” endeavours to direct a grim reminder to its viewers to “work harder to preserve what nature offers”, Lo tells UrbanWire, “or soon we will only have soulless and empty shells of the Malayan tigers.”

From Jun 1 to Aug 31, Night Safari offers a 50% discount on admission in conjunction with its Art Seen & Herd! exhibition to encourage students (only valid for students from secondary schools, junior colleges, polytechnics, universities and educational institutions based in Singapore with a valid photo student ID/student pass/matriculation card) to learn more and share about the threats facing wildlife and what they can do to save these animals.

Offer is valid daily from 1 June – 31 August 2013. Admission using discounted ticket is only applicable after 9pm. Ticket is only valid on day of purchase. Other terms and conditions apply. Click here to find out more.

Photos courtesy of Night Safari.