Christmas Island, Naturally
Published in 2016 by The Institute of Critical Zoologists
Edition of 450
32 images, 104 pages.
Soft Cover with Wrap around.
23cm x 30cm x 0.9cm (Thick)
Discovered on Christmas Day in 1643, Christmas Island is an
external territory of Australia located in the Indian Ocean.
The first settlers arrived on the island in 1887 and with the
advent of the phosphorus mining industry, the population grew
to 2,072 residents around 2001. Christmas Island’s communities
inhabited a number of “settlement areas” on the northern tip of
the island. The majority of the population were ethnic Chinese
and Malays who originated from the then British Malaya.
On May 14, 1958, the United Kingdom’s Christmas Island Act
was given royal assent, enabling Britain to transfer the
administration of Christmas Island from Singapore to Australia
by an order-in-council. This was followed by Australia’s
Christmas Island Act, which was passed in September 1958,
effectively placing the island under the jurisdiction of the
Commonwealth of Australia on 1 October the same year.
The nearly 150 years of human settlement have introduced a
number of invasive species onto the island. Not only do these
newcomers threaten some of the island’s most imperiled species,
such as the Abbott’s Booby and Christmas Island Gecko, they
have also caused the extinction of other species.
Christmas Island’s ecology is considered to be unique due
to its endemic flora and fauna and the presence of large
populations of land crabs and seabirds, which are the most
noticeable fauna on the island. The annual breeding migration
of the red crabs is also a well-known event. Researchers
estimate that 40 million crabs live on the island now, and the
number could have been twice that before invasive yellow crazy
ants became a problem.
As a result of its unique biodiversity, exceptional endemism
and the myriad of threats faced by invasive species, Christmas
Island is a high-value conservation area currently gazetted as
a strict nature reserve. In recognition of the island’s fragile
ecosystems, the 3rd Christmas Island Conservation Plan called
for the resettlement of human communities, which eventually
led to a relocation of these communities to the Australian
mainland. At present, a permit is needed for researchers
intending to study biodiversity on the island, and the island
remains indefnitely out of bounds to commercial tourism.
Images by Robert Zhao Renhui
Copyediting by Adeline Chia
Designed by H55 in Singapore
130 images, 196 pages. Semi-hard Cover, Bounded.
23cm x 30cm x 2cm (Thick)
Christmas Island, Naturally / Robert Zhao
Singaporean visual artist Robert Zhao Renhui (b. 1983) works chiefly with photography but often adopts a multi-disciplinary approach, presenting images together with documents and objects. Renhui’s work include textual and media analysis, video and photography projects. Recent exhibitions include the Sydney Biennale 2016, Arles Discovery Award 2015, ‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, Centre of Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2015); ‘The Nature Collector’, ShanghART, Shanghai (2015); ‘Flies Prefer Yellow’, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco (2014); and ‘A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of the World’, Primo Marella Gallery, Milan (2014), Singapore Biennale 2013, Centre of Contemporary Photography (Melbourne) and Photoquai 2013. His work has also been awarded The Deutsche Bank Award in Photography (2011) by the University of the Arts London, The United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Award (2009) Singapore. In 2010, he was awarded The Young Artist Award by the Singapore National Arts Council. His work has also been featured prominently in Artforum International, ArtAsiaPacific, European Photography, Pipeline, Archivo, Fotografia and Punctum.