UPDATE – 31 August 2022
People’s Choice Award
I was very honoured that my piece Our Cousins Under Threat made the finals of this year’s David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year. It sat alongside some truly stunning work from many of the world’s finest wildlife artists. There’s one last award to go ‘The People’s Choice Award’ and I’d be very grateful if you could place your vote.
UPDATE – 27 June 2022
I’m thrilled to announce that Our Cousins Under Threat has been shortlisted in this year’s David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year competition. The winners will be revealed during an online presentation at the end of August, so I need to keep my fingers crossed until then.
Our Cousins Under Threat is my first ever entry into the prestigious David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Artist of the Year competition. DSWF Wildlife Artist of the Year, in association with BBC Wildlife, is an internationally renowned wildlife art competition and exhibition which uses the power of art to celebrate wildlife, support awareness and raise funds for endangered species across Africa and Asia. Since its inception in 2008, Wildlife Artist of the Year has attracted more than 13,300 entries raising more than £1.2 million for conservation projects across Africa and Asia.
Each year, shortlisted pieces feature in an an exhibition in which 50% of the proceeds from all artwork sales support DSWF and their conservation partners, highlighting how we can use are to create something powerful and ignite the conversation about conservation.
You can find out more about DSWF’s work and the competition at davidshepherd.org.
It saddens me that some of our closest relatives in the natural world are also some of the most endangered. Chimpanzees, Gorillas, and Orangutans are threatened by deforestation, war, and poaching, and are particularly vulnerable since their small populations are restricted to isolated patches of ancient forest.
In this piece, I wanted to capture their spirit through a close-up of their faces, with a level of eye contact that forces the viewer to relate to them in a very human way – encouraging us to see them not as animals, but as intelligent, emotional beings that experience love, pain, and fear just as we do – and to remind us that the world would be all the poorer without them. Each portrait was drawn at A3 size (42x30cm) in pastel, and brought together in a triple mount to create a unique composition.
I have seen the work that goes into Orangutan conservation first-hand during a visit to Borneo several years ago, and was immediately captivated by these incredible creatures and heartbroken by the degree to which their habit is being destroyed.