Fusing art and conservation, The Fragile Fight is an emotive conservation-led art project that aims to benefit the global conservation effort and provide its audience with a way to directly affect positive change.

Inspired by his childhood fascination with the natural world, something he says he owes to natural history broadcaster Sir David Attenborough whose television programmes Penn spent hours watching again and again during his youth, the artist plans to exhibit cast crystal glass and 24 carat gold gilded bronze skeletons of some of the world’s most endangered species.

A macabre yet hauntingly beautiful reminder of the fact that the human race has caused the catastrophic destruction of countless animal species and their habitats, The Fragile Fight illustrates this harsh reality in an inspiring visual format that resonates with us all.

“By displaying the animal kingdom on such a large scale, in a fragile medium like glass as well as gold which is so symbolic of our greed and consumption, I believe it will not only capture the interest of those who want to learn more about the species with which we share this earth, but also awaken a more emotive connection to the plight of the natural world.” – Matthew Penn

The aim of the project is to attempt the seemingly impossible and forge a modern-day artistic arc of earth’s creatures. A lifetime project, The Fragile Fight will take on an evolution of its own influencing positive social change through a dynamic new approach to funding conservation, education, scientific research, and animal welfare projects worldwide.


Although a life-time project, Penn plans to launch The Fragile Fight with an inaugural series entitled The Fragile Fight 100. This will take the form of a striking visual campaign that celebrates earth’s diversity of species and encourages an interest in nature and the natural world.


Comprised of 100 animal skeletons, all of which have been carefully selected based on the species’ endangered status, extinction at the hand of mankind, or visual appeal, the artist will mould and cast their skeletal remains. These works will form the basis of the project’s public exhibitions.


Following the first skeleton from fabrication to installation, a team of videographers are already at work in Penn’s studio capturing the journey of a polar bear skeleton from a scorching kiln to the frozen shores of Greenland.

The footage will also be used in the marketing of the project, and in bonus content available via The Fragile Fight app.


Providing a place for bonus digital content to be viewed at the site of associated exhibitions, user generated content to be uploaded, donations to be sent during and after visiting an exhibition, and a platform to share global conservation news.


The Fragile Fight will serve as a form of preservation for the species from which the installations are created, and provide a mechanic for visitors to directly affect positive change to the state of the natural world. It will educate on the topics of green living and sustainable lifestyles, and inspire within its audience a deeper connection with ongoing global conservation efforts.

The team will adhere to a strict code of ethics when sourcing animal remains and utilise opportunities for collaboration with other entities in order to loan remains when possible.

From the point of its public launch a percentage of all profits will be allocated to conservation entities and the remaining funds will be used to finance the fabrication and exhibition of additional works. As the project establishes itself on the global stage this balance will shift in favour of funding conservation activity.

No skeletons acquired by the project will be resold, instead they will be used to aid global education and conservation efforts. The project will be documented at every stage from the production and fabrication of the initial concepts, to the final installation of the works. Scientific documentation of the skeletons will also take place; this will include cataloguing each bone via 3D scanning techniques and the preservation of DNA sequencing from each species.


Leveraging the impactful nature of contemporary sculpture to launch an art-lead conservation campaign, The Fragile Fight aims to awaken a desire for change by highlighting the delicate nature of mankind’s relationship with earth’s creatures great and small. Providing a platform for conservationists, charities, zoos, and educational programs to promote the plight of the world’s most fragile species and highlight the steps necessary for change, the visuals created will serve to inspire and educate a collective social consciousness.

While increased awareness for individual conservation efforts offers regional benefit, The Fragile Fight aims to unify a collective awareness through one simple idea; the decisions we make daily will directly affect the protection of our planet.

Positioning itself as a mechanic for ordinary people to affect positive change, the project will differentiate itself from individuals and entities that are experts in their respective fields of conservation and instead focus on utilising its emotive visual to channel attention toward those working at ground level. Species research collected and documented as part of the project’s development will help researchers and conservationists worldwide, and the project’s website will provide details of vetted, relevant entities currently involved in the conservation and protection of animals and their habitat.

The Fragile Fight is a philanthropic endeavour by British artist and conservation enthusiast Matthew Penn. Funds for the project will be raised by the sale of a collectible series of artworks produced from the cast skeletons of some of the world’s most beguiling animals.

From the time of its launch a percentage of funds raised will be gifted, via an application process, to organisations proven to directly affect positive change for endangered species. This structure will be transparent and allow the general public to track the impact of their donations to the project on specific conservation efforts.

In time, once The Fragile Fight has established itself within the wider conservation effort, a percentage of profits will be channelled into the development of an immersive museum dedicated to art, natural science, and education. At this time The Fragile Fight will take an active role in the development of conservation and species research, and develop further public sites for the appreciation of art and natural science.

The project’s ethos is, and will remain, to offer the general public an engaging and immersive connection to the often overwhelming conversations surrounding the protection of our planet.