Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva

Danielle Da Silva

Canada & United Kingdom

Canada & United Kingdom

Canada & United Kingdom

Series: Our Human Purpose

Series: Our Human Purpose

Series: Our Human Purpose

Our human purpose. What is it? Is it to extract and take? To see humanity as “top of the food chain?” As the ultimate conquerer? Or is our purpose to be caretakers—to nurture, spread seeds, regenerate? What happens when you look past the palm oil and pointing fingers, to the heartbeat of every being on the planet? To what connects us?

Mina is known by many guides in the Leuser National Park as being aggressive, but I know her softer side. As she plays with her baby, all I can see is her joy. I forget about her reputation for being a monster. Instead, the scar above her left eye reminds me that she has a right to be angry. It was humans, after all, who stole her from the arms of her dead mother and imprisoned her in a cage as a child. However, it was also humans who rescued, rehabilitated and released her. She discerns whom to trust and acts accordingly.


“Your home is the forest.” Panut Hadisiswoyo makes a promise to Baby Cece that he will rescue her and help her.


5 year-old baby Cece was rescued from a small, dirty cage at the back of a Sumatran amusement park where she was being illegally kept. She gazes thoughtfully here from the arms of Panut Hadisiswoyo, a local hero of sorts who has made it his life’s mission to save the orangutans and their forest home.


Human creations. Palm oil refinery in the background, palm oil truck in the foreground, palm oil plantation all around.


Father. Husband. Brother. Uncle. Villager. Palm oil plantation worker.


A mother and child from a nearby village watch as the rescue team does their work, trying to tranquilize an orangutan and catch her safely in a net.


Mekar lies on a “stretcher” as she has her vitals checked. Trapped in a palm oil tree on a palm oil planatation for seven days, help finally came. The Orangutan Information Centre team tranquilized Mekar and caught her in the net she is lying in before finding her body to be riddled with air rifle bullets. She was fed and then safely translocated afterwards.


A mahout in Sumatra pulls at a rescued elephant’s ears to get her to perform for tourists that visit daily.


The cost of freedom.


Sometimes what we are tearing apart brings us together. What is our human purpose? Orangutans spread seeds. They take what they need and then move on, taking care of their surroundings. They know the forest. The medicines. They love to listen, to explore, to learn. What are we here to learn?


The Magenta Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of TD Bank Group for their ongoing commitment to Flash Forward and to emerging artists.

© 2019 The Magenta Foundation