"Somehow it was hard to believe that once upon a time there really had been something like the dodo out there in the world." —Harri Kallio

Combo Nature Preserve #6, Mauritius, 2004, from Harri Kallio's project The Dodo and Mauritius Island: Imaginary Encounters, was published in the summer 2006 issue of Aperture magazine alongside a text by Carlo McCormick. Researching the available historical and anatomical sources, Kallio produced life-size reconstructions of the long-extinct dodo bird in their natural habitat of Mauritius Island, the only place on earth where dodos ever existed.

The Dodo and Mauritius Island: Imaginary Encounters is a dialogue between the mythical, art historical, and biological dodo. This strange, flightless giant pigeon was eradicated between 1662 and 1693 when Dutch settlers destroyed the dodos' forest habitat, and introduced invasive predators which the dodo had never had before. The project involved extensive sculpture processes and construction, photography, and digital-imaging tools. The resulting work is a visual interpretation of a meeting between the viewer and the dodos in their seventeenth-century natural habitat. 

Thanks to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (1865); the dodo is our most well-known extinct species, living on in the collective memory of the Western world. "I was fascinated about the persistence of the dodo as a character appearing in so many different contexts," explains Kallio. "As an artist, seeing my dodo sculptures in the Mauritius Island landscape was a reward on its own."

Harri Kallio (born in Salla, Finland, 1970) received his master's degree in photography from the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki.


You may also be interested in: