700 schoolchildren’s wildlife drawings go on show at Great North Museum: Hancock

20 April 2022

"This project inspires children to care for all our wild neighbours and understand their importance within the natural landscape, from the African Lion to the Giraffe Weevil."

An exhibition of 700 animal drawings by children from across the globe has been completed at Newcastle University’s Great North Museum: Hancock. A new section of 100 drawings by Malaysian schoolchildren completes the exhibition which originally opened in 2021 with 600 drawings.

Where did all the Animals Go? by artist Jane Lee McCracken features vinyl prints of original biro drawings depicting some of the world’s most iconic and endangered species. The exhibition aims to encourage the growth of collective responsibility towards conservation while giving children and vulnerable wildlife a voice.

McCracken founded the project in 2019 in partnership with the conservation charity Born Free (whose Born Free Forever exhibition of Lion statues is currently on show in Exhibition Park). Despite the pandemic, they worked with educators and conservationists in workshops to inspire schoolchildren in England, California, Kenya, Guyana and Malaysia to create the vast collection of colourful drawings.

Also on display are large format prints of McCracken’s original biro drawings Butterfly Lover and Khan

Jane Lee McCracken, Artist, said:

“I am overjoyed to complete the exhibition and install the astonishing drawings by Malaysian children. It has been a tremendously inspirational and moving journey to completion and I’m so proud of all the children who participated in my workshops and created amazing art to help raise awareness of vulnerable wildlife.

“Through drawing, education and the opportunity of self-expression, I hope to generate individual compassion towards animals and the environment while encouraging collective responsibility to further cherish and conserve the planet’s remaining wildlife for future generations: if we care we want to conserve.”

Charlie Baker, Education Officer at Born Free, said:

“Born Free are thrilled to be partnered with the Where did all the Animals Go? project. It is so exciting to have seen how engaged children across the globe have been, drawing and learning about both iconic animals, and lesser-known endangered species.

“On every continent wildlife is coming under increasing pressure from habitat destruction, unsustainable exploitation of resources and human-wildlife conflict. This project inspires children to care for all our wild neighbours and understand their importance within the natural landscape, from the African Lion to the Giraffe Weevil. It is wonderful that despite all the challenges faced, children from all over the world have their artwork displayed for all to see.”

Dr Kate Holden, Learning Officer at the Great North Museum: Hancock, said:

“We are delighted to showcase the work of children from North East England and around the world in our Living Planet gallery. Their reflection on the state of nature highlights the need to act now to secure the future of the planet they are inheriting.”

Children's biro drawings of endangered animals on display in a museum exhibition.

Where did all the Animals Go? is open daily with free entry. Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm. Saturday, 10am – 4pm. Sunday, 11am – 4pm.

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