Laura Mann

colored pencil and gouache on paper

Through a vivid depiction of a girl’s interaction with emerald jewel beetles, this work seeks to illustrate a representation of the positive relationships humans are capable of creating with the natural world. These attractive beetles have been historically exploited as components of a popular style of jewelry, and due to that misuse, the species Chrysochroa rajah became threatened. This negative effect imposed by humankind is representative of the many harmful impacts society inflicts to create products that are ‘in-demand’, putting the wants of humanity over the needs of the natural world. In more recent times, the individuals utilizing these insects have been working to create a more respectful relationship, waiting until the beetles die of natural causes to collect them for jewelry, as their natural lifespan is only about two weeks. These newly forged relations allowed the species to successfully recover; the emerald jewel beetle is no longer threatened. My piece was created with the intention of conveying the hope I have for a future in which humanity works to have many more positive relationships with the environment, and strives to gain a stronger appreciation for the intense wonder and beauty of the natural world that surrounds us.