Roger Ballen art highlights destructive history of hunting

Roger Ballen art exhibit in South Africa highlights destructive history of hunting
Bow hunting, photo: Canva

The art exhibition End of the Game by American artist-photographer Roger Ballen portrays the destructive hunting relationship between Man and Nature. The show opens on Tuesday in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The display draws attention to the extinction of African wildlife. The number of wild animals has decreased by almost 70 percent in the last 50 years, according to a report released in October by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). 

The report found that the leading causes of wildlife loss are deforestation, climate change, pollution and human exploitation.

With the End of the Game exhibition, Ballen hopes to deliver the message that the destruction of wildlife and nature is not a new phenomenon but rather a longstanding issue that requires urgent attention.

End of the Game chronicles the practice of unrestrained hunting, which has contributed to the devastation of the environment we are currently facing. The popularity of hunting for sport contributed to the destruction of Africa’s wildlife at the turn of the 20th century – a trend which continues to this day.

The exhibition highlights the significance of the Golden Age of African hunting expeditions by colonialists and influential Western figures such as former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill, and American novelist Ernest Hemingway. In 1909, around 11,000 animals, including rhinos and elephants, were killed during Roosevelt’s hunting trip.

Through a combination of documentary images, objects, film clips, and Ballen’s photographs and installations, the End of the Game hopes to “psychologically challenge” and make a “deep impression on people.” 

Ballen, who has lived and worked in South Africa for nearly 40 years, said, “the world isn’t necessarily flowers and whiskey and love… life is made up of positives (and) negatives.”


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