(Source: The Straits Times, March 29, 2012)

Local photographic artist, Robert Zhao was recently featured on the Straits Times for his unique works, often featuring animals. He has garnered several prestigious accolades for his works, including UOB Painting of the Year Award (2009), Deutsche Bank Award in Photography and many others.

Robert’s work


Importance and relevance of his work

You may wonder how Robert’s works has got to do with conservation or even psychology. Well, I do think that his works have a lot of relevance to these two fields. As mentioned by Robert himself, many of his art pieces “stem from his interest in human-animal relationship and in ecological preservation.” Robert’s works exemplify how arts may also help to convey animal conservation messages.

Topics like animal trafficking and extinction may be incomprehensible and complex for some. Artists like Robert may help by translating these complex topics into artful yet relevant pieces of work that people can relate to. Since his art pieces are often portrayed abstractly, his works also encourage people to ponder more deeply about the animal conservation issues portrayed, which could lead to greater insights.

As the adage goes ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’. Perhaps photos and paintings produced by artists like Robert could be more effective in spreading environmental and conservation messages than scientific reports. However, this is not to discount the tremendous works done by conservationists, environmentalists and others.