John Guy Pettruzzi // Emergent Decline (Drepanis Coccinea)
Watercolor, acrylic on Yupo // 26"x22"
It is said that the endemic honeycreepers of the Hawaiian islands were revealed to the world after being individually painted by the demi-god Maui. Before this, they existed only as ethereal songs ringing through the dense cloud forests. Today, only 18 of nearly 60 recorded species persist, among which 15 are classified as threatened or endangered. The ’I’iwi, or Scarlet Honeycreeper, with it's fiery plumage, sickle-like bill, and resonant voice, is one of the most conspicuous members of the group. This painting reinterprets the genesis of the species within a contemporary context of climate change, habitat loss, extinction and intervention.