Copyright Kelly Sena
For the Wild
November 4th, 2022 — January 25th, 2023
‘For the Wild’ Back in 2002, after reading Edward Abbey’s cult classic, ‘The Monkey Wrench Gang’ first published in 1975, I became aware of Earth First, the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. Shortly, after Abbey’s publication, many environmental activists felt disillusioned by the political processes of mainstream environmental groups. Abbey’s fictional characters shaped what would give rise to a contemporary generation of Henry David Thoreau inspired activists. Their slogan was, “No compromise in defense of Mother Earth”. This generation of eco-warriors ratcheted up new forms of civil disobedience, “Monkey Wrenching”. Their direct actions consisted of sensational demonstrations, tree-sitting, road blockades and property destruction.
During that time, I discovered the Federal Bureau of Investigations targeted the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberal Front as the number one domestic terrorist threat in the USA.
When I began writing to incarcerated environmental and animal rights activists in 2006, I asked them: “Where are the places you journey to inside your mind’s eye, the sacred places that you remember, the places from your life on the outside that keep you sane?” I offered to be their eyes, “I’ll go there to make a picture for you”.
Kelly Sena is a visual artist and environmentalist based in Los Angeles, CA. Her work finds collaboration with activists, wildlife biologists, ornithologists and others in exploring the connections between nature, politics, science and culture. In 2006, Sena began to correspond with incarcerated environmental and animal-rights activists, forming the basis for her ongoing collaborative project ‘For the Wild’. Sena’s work has been featured in publications such as Aperture, Fifth Estate, and Art Forum. She earned a B.F.A from Otis College of Art and Design in 2000 and an M.F.A from California Institute of the Arts in 2002.