Madeleine Hope Arthurs, “White Rhino”


Madeleine Hope Arthurs
New York City, New York

White Rhino
ink, gouache, watercolor, and collage
61″ open x 9″ x 12.5″

Artist Statement

My artwork combines human and animal figures in ways that emphasize their similarities, their common needs and wants, their dependence on each other and on the Earth. I hope, in making this work, to create empathy for animals, for all living creatures, and for the planet. To get started I create quick sketches to record the images that are in my head. Then, I do research about the animals, their habitats and their habits. Finally I draw images that show the joint journey of humans and other living creatures.

White Rhino, the artist book I am submitting, is about endangered white rhinoceros that are disappearing due to poaching. I create figures that combine animals and humans to illustrate their closeness, and to bring attention to the sad consequences of that closeness, that nearness, when humans are uncaring or unknowing.

My artist books are one-of-a-kind handmade accordion books with hand-drawn half human/half animal creatures in them. The accordion book format allows me to express more than one picture can. Viewers engage with the books, intimately holding them in their hands, gradually opening them and seeing how the pages unfold – not just as a landscape, but as a non-verbal story. I use black ink to capture the details and textures, the intricacies and similarities, of the creatures. I also like to collage paper on top of paper to create a raised surface that brings attention to specific images within the drawings; an example is the dragonfly on the cover of “Prey for You.” I am motivated and moved by the diversity of animal life, and by the importance to humans of that variety and beauty in our world.