African Safari 2023
Finally, after a three-year wait, I made it back to my beloved Africa, sharing the trip with three friends who had not travelled to Africa before and of course, the trip blew them away.
For me, it's a return to the continent I grew up on and many childhood memories are revisited, the wildlife, the people, the earthy colours, the beautiful African light... and so much more. My heart is filled with joy and I feel so blessed to be able to return there and especially to share the experience with friends and see much of the adventure through their eyes.
Inspiration and Art
Africa is a continent teeming with natural beauty. It's a land that has inspired generations of artists, writers, and creatives from around the world and I am one of them. The wildlife fuels my passion for creativity and inspiration for new ideas that show no bounds. I came home refreshed and energised by the visual and emotional stimulation I experienced on the trip and can't wait to express the many wonderful encounters into an artwork to share with the world!
African wildlife is unlike any other on the planet. From the largest land mammal in existence, the elephant to the tallest land mammal, the giraffe, the powerful lions and lionesses, and the elusive leopards, Africa's animals are a visual feast for the senses. The patterns of coats, the anatomy designed to suit the lifestyle, and the behaviour strategies to enable survival, all this is intertwined into an ecosystem that constantly evolves and moves in cohesive harmony.
I would be remiss to not add here that you don't have to travel to find inspiration. For the three years that Covid kept me at home, I did not run out of inspiration or motivation, you just have to show up and do the work but to travel somewhere new, even if it's nearby, is refreshing and stimulating and can be a bonus.
Wildlife Conservation Art
Like many contemporary artists, I use my work to raise awareness about the plight of African wildlife. Whether it's paintings, drawings, or photography, these practices are employed to highlight the need for conservation efforts to protect endangered species. I can use many of my reference photos later in my artwork to raise funds for ongoing conservation projects such as Artists for Painted Dogs and many others.
Moreover, the connection between art and conservation underscores the need to protect the precious natural heritage of Africa for generations to come.
The two camps we visited are highly conservation-minded and have wildlife and the environment top of their agenda for sustainability and protection. The first camp was at Mashatu Main Camp in the Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana. The guides are highly trained and responsive to their guests. The animals are treated with great respect and because of that, many of our encounters were up close and personal which makes it very exciting! We booked a morning in the photographic hide which is a large container buried in the ground therefore putting the photographer at eye-level to a waterhole. When elephants come in to drink, the enormity of their size and their quiet gentleness is a humbling experience.
Our second camp was Mala Mala, South Africa and due to its location above Kruger National Park and the surrounding conservancies, gives the wildlife a massive corridor to move freely and safely through and is therefore home to an abundant diversity of animals. Much of the funding from tourism goes back into preserving these areas and giving the local communities employment and productivity.
So, the next time you seek inspiration, consider looking to Africa, where the wild heart of creativity beats strong!