Amelia van der Laan de Vries, ‘Reproductive Behaviour of Fish’ 2021. Fineliner pen on paper. 40cm x 55cm. Image courtesy: the artist.

Artist statement

The series draws influence from old taxonomic charts to depict Carl Linnaeus, known as the ‘father’ of taxonomy, in different stages of reproductive courtship with a zebrafish. It aims to challenge power relations and perceived heirarchies of knowledge in science and western culture. It references the historical link between taxonomy and scientific racism, and the paternalistic control of reproductive rights (based on racist measures of intelligence) during the eugenics movement. It highlights the irony of eugenic thought in the face of current knowledge of our close genetic similarity to fish and questions the limits of western systems of knowledge, which have become increasingly disconnected from nature.

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