Kristin Sjaarda’s primary subject of focus is the flora and fauna that live and thrive around the urban environment of her downtown Toronto neighbourhood. Informed by the style and still-life subject matter of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age painters, and the Dutch history of her own family lineage, Sjaarda creates still lifes and photographs that are reflections of both her heritage and the city where she lives and works.
In Sjaarda’s most recent series, her arrangements place new emphasis on elements of the decay and decomposing matter of the forest floor that lie in contrast to the lush flowers. Accentuating the dualistic character of the natural environment - living and dying, light and dark, predatory and prey – she seeks to highlight the inherent fragility of the ecosystem as it responds to forces both natural and forced. Sjaarda comments:
“Motivated by a deeply felt eco-anxiety, wondering what the natural world will look like for my children in an uncertain future, I started paying attention to and collecting the flora and fauna that live and thrive in our urban environment. While the historical artworks I use as inspiration were made in an era of expansion and exploitation, these images strive to illuminate what is now threatened by climate change.”
Sjaarda holds an Associate of Applied Sciences degree in Photography from the Colorado Institute of Art, USA. Recent exhibitions of her work have included presentations in Toronto, Montreal, Hamburg and Miami and her works may be found in private collections in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She currently lives and works in Toronto, ON.