Individuation in Bonobo Grooming Habits playfully embraces an anthropomorphizing of the bonobos grooming habits but at the same time questions assumptions we have on how we measure intelligence. Traditionally tool making has been the sign of higher intelligence in species, but why not individuation and self-adornment? The drawing and photographic work in this series function as both subjective expression and as documents of these sightings; a proposal is contained within the work that suggests we considers this idea.
One of the ways I initially learned to identify individual bonobos at Wild Animal Park was by their facial hair grooming. The animal keepers would help me learn their names by pointing out the wide center part Akili was sporting or Loretta's penchant for a severally plucked forehead. My series of
hairdo drawings makes evident this expression of individuality found in many different Bonobo groups. The ballpoint pen drawn over the photograph helps bring the focus to the face as well as acts abstractly upon it. In the drawing
Bigger and Better I have included documentation of the adolescent Jumanji's discovery that not only will a stripped palm frond fit into his
Kong toy but so will his erect penis! In the bottom row Jumanji takes what he has learned and makes a more elaborate penis extension by stripping away only the base of the frond that needs to be inserted into the
Kong toy. This second attempt created a much fancier version. On completing this he stood up and checked to see if any of the other bonobo were noticing. That moment is what I drew. In
Double Display the voluptuous actress Scarlet Johansson is paired with the backside of Linda, a desirable female bonobo. In the photograph
Palm Boa Lenore has draped a necklace of palm leaves over her shoulders. I observed this kind of self-embellishment numerous times while I was at Wild Animal Park.