'OUT OF AFRICA' an exhibition on wildlife conservation

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This exhibition centres around African animals, the preservation of wildlife and beauty of nature. All the works are a process from photographs I have taken during my travels to Africa, particularly Kenya. These trips presented questions about preservation due to the number of animals facing distinction because of human behaviour. African land is being robbed by continual industrialization of cities, being used as building land and resulting in an exponential decrease in the habitat of local wildlife. Thankfully Kenya is one of the areas protected by law against trophy hunting and building in natural reserves. Yet this does not change the danger animals are in, as they travel through different countries in the African savannah and mostly migrate back to southwestern Kenya to the Maasai Mara for the great migration, in search of water and prey. Every animal has a rare beauty and role in the African ecosystem and the extinction of any animal causes disruption to the whole food chain. In my travels to Africa, I was fascinated by animal behaviour; protection, defence, nurturing and strength.

 

My subsequent artwork depicts animals with inspiration by Franz Marc, Picasso and Anthony Russell, a Kenyan artist I met during my travels. My work consists of bold, strong colours; mostly an ‘African palette’ using greens, yellows, browns, blue and red. Based on ideas used by Franz Marc, I further developed my own colour system which contains much symbolism. I used a lot of conflict though my use of colour, intentionally to highlight the conflict which animals face against human intervention and ignorance. Examples are the use of red to represent death, brutality, passion and love, whilst blue is the colour of hope and purity. Green symbolized life and fertility and yellow harmony and balance. Each of my paintings or mixed media pieces have red in them, as there is brutality, passion and love in every species’ life; whether in nature or in some cases brutality inflicted by humans. I wanted to make my audience see the message that I am trying to communicate through a dominant use of red as representative of blood, brutality and danger. The latter referring to the danger that what humans are inflicting is irreversible.

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Title: ‘Majesty’

Medium: Clay, plaster and mixed media

Size: 40 x 40cm

I"The composition of ‘Majesty’ deliberately refers to ideas of animal heads being displayed as trophies. The lions head is inspired by Franz Marc’s cubism animals and shows a lion’s head in the wind, which is a symbol for a species fading away. The decorative symbols show the unique imprint every animal has and represents the importance of each individual in the natural world."

Title: ‘Giraffes by the Waterhole’

Medium: Photography and mixed media

Size: 47 x 63 cm

"The original photograph for ‘Kenya’ is used, containing all giraffes. Photoshop was used to edit the image before being developed using mixed media. It shows the harmony between animals and humans in African culture. Maasai beads, collected ornaments and feathers were used to connect to indigenous cultures. The Kenyan artist Anthony Russell was a strong influence after a two-week workshop with him."

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Title: ‘The Deer’s Perspective’

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 50 x 79cm

"This baby impala painting depicts the innocence and beauty in an animal and their pureness in behavior. Using the colors red and green love and life are represented, which also symbolize conflict through their opposing content. The use of blue in the sky is a symbol of hope for the pure. There is an intentional depiction of innocence and purity with subtler coded suggestions of conflict."

Title: ‘Tusks til’ dawn’

Medium: Clay, plaster, and mixed media

Size: 40 x 40cm

 "‘Tusks til’ dawn’ encourages the viewer to confront the wrong-doings of humanity in intentionally ignoring the fate of the elephant through trophy hunting. The elephants head is presented as a trophy and its content of decorative symbols creates a unique atmosphere, allowing the viewer to see that hunting these majestic animals for their tusks is creates a void in the diversity of nature. I purposely added the pieces of tusks found by Maasaii people when elephants die as a form of worshiping the dead."

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Title: ‘A touch of Heaven’

Medium: Photography and mixed media

Size: 43 x 58 cm

"‘A touch of heaven’ refers to the rare opportunity given to take this photograph. The symbolism of freedom is suggested through the eagle, which also depicts strength and power. The perspective of looking up is also symbolic of respect and admiration. African bird species are decreasing and this work captures the importance and significance of being proactive in preservation efforts."

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Title: ‘Impala’

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 40 x 50cm

"A single animal is depicted, with a focus on the danger facing the species. As the red dripping sky suggests, we threaten to destroy the home and life of the Impala. There is an intentional characteristic of innocence and vulnerability within the work, with some conflicting ideas expressed through the physical strength of the Impala."

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Title: ‘Savannah’

Medium: Acrylics, inks, and photomontage on wood

Size: Four wooden panels of 20 x 20cm

"Each of these four boards contains symbolism: the lion represents pride; the cheetah, elegance; the elephant, strength and the couples represent love. The main characteristics of the African Savannah’s species are depicted whilst underlining the animals’ ability to live in harmony and symbiosis. The works encourage the viewer to relate humanity to the lives of animals."

Title ‘Kenya’

Medium Oil on canvas

Size 160 x 100cm

 "‘Kenya’ draws on influences from Franz Marc and contains a lot of color symbolism; red representing blood/death as we risk destroying the beauty of nature and wildlife and love as we claim to love wildlife at the same time; blue and yellow coming from the dripping sky represent harmony and hope and the with the healthy green tree represents the fertility and life in nature. The composition is based on a photograph I took whilst in Kenya."​

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is a South African artist and designer, with British roots. He was born and raised in Kenya and has a strong passion for the conservation of Lions and the Maasai culture, he has had a lifetime of experience in Anthony Russelleast African wildlife, with his father being a conservation hunter and himself being involved in creating protected areas for elephant and rhino.

He started his work due to his passion and love for seeing the animals out in the wild in their natural environment and lives for experiencing them in their most authentic form. He is a very patient photographer and has therefore been able to capture the most amazing scenes on camera.

He works with mixed media and photoshop on his own photography. Anthony mainly focuses on photographing women and african wildlife as he connects the two with passion and liberty. 

Find out more about him under: http://anthonyrussellart.com/ 

About my two main inspirations - Russell and Marc 

Franz Marc was a German artist born in 1880 in Munich and died at age thirty-six in 1916. He longed for a with deeper spirituality and thought about joining a priesthood, ironically he died in a battle in the WWI. In his short life, Marc met many artists and developed his style from realist al the way to cubism and abstraction.

 

Marc depicted animals as he saw a rare beauty and innocence in them that, in his eyes, was not present in the human world anymore. Franz Marc’s art is recognized all over the world and is known for having covered social issues in the 20th century.