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A secret location, a ton of driftwood and a mastodon: Meet the artist bringing them together

Guthrie Gloag has been building a huge creature out of driftwood. Here, he tells you why — and why he won't tell you where it is.

Guthrie Gloag will tell you why he built it, but he won't tell you where it is

Guthrie Gloag has been building a huge creature in the middle of the woods. Here, he tells you why, and why he won't tell you where it is. 3:37

This summer, some unsuspecting hiker will stumble onto a huge creature, standing silent in a clearing. They'll also see a sign from the artist who created it out of driftwood, asking them to spend time with this mastodon (and maybe to not climb it).

The artist behind both the prehistoric beast and its accompanying label is Guthrie Gloag of British Columbia. He's laboured to build this monumental artwork and then leave it in a secret location, only known by him.

Why hide so much work? Gloag created this sculpture as a symbol of conservation, something to prompt viewers to reflect on how species are threatened — sometimes into extinction — by humans. In his work with driftwood animals, Gloag points to dangerous conditions from climate change and environmental destruction to unsustainable consumerism and production practices.

The mastodon. (CBC Arts)

The environmentalist tone of Gloag's work may come from his background as a biologist and time spent in the wilderness of British Columbia, where he got to see wildlife in its natural setting. Mastodons became extinct roughly 11,000 years ago, but what Gloag has created is a contemporary encounter between the viewer and the silent mastodon.

Usually this is the part of the article where you would find out where to see Gloag's mastodon and for how long. But we're not telling you. Good luck, traveler.

See more of Guthrie Gloag's work here.

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30am (1am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Lisa Wu

Lisa Wu is a filmmaker and photographer on the unceded, occupied territories of the Coast Salish peoples. She’s interested in stories that show the intersection between art and social change. Working to keep B.C. beautiful, she’s part of a movement to #stopkm and to #protectourcoast.

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