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Renee Sang (b. 1998), Orlando, FL

These photographs serve as one component of a larger project visualizing the fight to save Split Oak Forest using documentary methods as intentionally familiar means of storytelling. Though already an area of protected wilderness conservation lands, Split Oak has been under recent threat from developers attempting to build the Central Florida Expressway through it. Though specific to the greater Orlando community, this issue sets a larger alarming precedent for the current destruction of public lands and environmental rights everywhere.

Overall, this project advocates on behalf of Split Oak’s biodiversity and recreational value to the local community. From speaking directly with members fighting for Split Oak on the ground to quiet walks through the forest alone, a diversity of perceptual vantage points is represented. Imagery of the forest ranges from picturesque beauty to haunting reality. The creeping hints of urban sprawl along the edge of the forest are reflective of civilization’s current path of unfettered development. Quotes from advocates involved in the fight to save Split Oak are embedded throughout the photographs to highlight our collective role in preserving this land and to acknowledge the impacts of grassroots activism in the ongoing fight for environmental rights.

Due to local efforts, the forest has been momentarily saved by the passing of a successful charter amendment in the 2020 election. Perhaps this hopeful precedent can set the stage to replace the forces that continue to threaten these spaces. Ultimately, Split Oak is part of a larger conversation around the current destruction of public lands and environmental degradation everywhere as progress and economic growth continue to develop uncontrollably. There is an urgency and need to continually visualize the power of collective action to prevent the plight of our natural worlds.


80 cm x 105 cm x 1.8 cm


Archival pigment print

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Copyright 2021, Renee Sang. Reproduced with permission. The artists and/or collaborators who contribute to the Rollins College Student Art Gallery and Archive retain the rights to their own works. In making these collection materials available, Rollins College does not grant permission to reproduce or redistribute them, in part or in full. The College does not own the copyright to any of the materials, cannot grant any requests for permission to reproduce them, and will forward reproduction requests to the artists and/or collaborators.


print, graphic design, photography, archival pigment print, nature, split oak forest, split oak, conservation, environment, environmental studies, environmental justice, biodiversity, central Florida expressway, Orlando, social justice, activism


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