Holden Banks

When I volunteered for the Denver Zoo, I asked my mentor, who was a zookeeper there,

how he felt about zoos and the animals not being in their natural habitats. What he told me has

stuck with me until this very day. He said, “I think everyone would like to see an animal happy

in their natural habitat. In today's world, however, human life will always be valued more than an

animal's life, and with a growing human population someday there may be no natural habitat for

animals to live in.”

This is why I look to convey in my work the contrast of our modern-day environment in

comparison to the time before westward expansion, and from that change, look at different

perspectives of what the current environment could be. I want people to consider an idea of how

much we have changed our environment and an idea of what used to be in that landscape.

I question the consequences of human activities by creating a set of small replica

environments that give an artificial look into what would be seen in a natural state habitat. Each

piece contains multiple species to show what biodiversity would look like in the local habitat, so

the viewer may multiply it to a larger scale beyond the gallery. With photos of these habitats

interjected into modern-day human developed areas, I hope to get the viewer to consider “what

if.” What if we never manipulated what was already there? What if we had not come along, what

would the environment look like? In doing so I hope they start to visualize the complex layers of

what makes up a habitat. Helping the audience to imagine the micro to the macro scale of the

environment and how much of it we have repurposed and changed the landscape to our own