Drawings for Africa
Wrinkle By Wrinkle: A Series for Africa’s Megafauna
An estimated 27,000 African elephants are killed each year to feed the illicit trade in ivory.1 In the early 20th century, the total population may have numbered 3-5 million.2 The current population is estimated at 415,428 ± 20,111 wild individuals across 37 African countries.3 The African elephant is currently listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). While the African elephant is not at immediate risk of extinction, there is growing concern as poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation, and human-elephant conflict threaten to decimate regional populations across Africa. To learn more, visit my About Elephants page.
In 2011, I came across an article addressing the severity of elephant poaching in Africa. Captivated by the plight of the elephant, I began to read about them. I read books by Cynthia Moss, Iain Douglas-Hamilton, David Western, and Richard Leakey. I read articles about poaching, and watched videos and documentaries.
Inspired to get involved, I began working on a series of small drawings that I intended to sell in an effort to raise money to help elephants. At the same time, my concern for the condition of African wildlife led me back to college, where I studied wildlife and geospatial science. Caught up in the rigor of my coursework, I shelved the art project, with the intention of coming back to it.
In 2017, I had the opportunity to start drawing again. This time with the aid of a strong environmental science education and new self-taught drawing skills. It is my hope that the knowledge that I have learned in my journey of life thus far, will enable me to contribute to the protection of Africa’s megafauna.
Initial Test Drawings
The Project Concept
In modern society, we are often so busy living our own lives and striving to reach our own dreams that we fail to consider that we are part of a bigger picture. Unfortunately, our actions are often directed by our subconscious adherence to our own beliefs; beliefs shaped, not by our truest interests and desires, but by the norms of society, and political and corporate interests. Our unchecked adherence to these beliefs enables us to lead “normal” lives blinded to the reality of our negative impact on the world around us. In so doing, we unintentionally support a way of life that harms people, decimates wildlife, and ravages the entirety of the natural world.
Capturing the essence of being by accentuating those features that reveal the Enchanting nature of existence
Drawings for Africa (DFA) is a mixed media project, integrating drawing, graphic design, and other art forms. The aim is to capture the essence of the animals depicted, while accentuating those features that make them so beautiful and so captivating. In so doing, I hope to foster a greater appreciation for African wildlife within the viewer, so that they may feel the full tragedy of poaching, and recognize the magnitude of what we stand to lose if we do not protect these creatures. The end goal is to inspire people to act in ways that promote the well-being of African wildlife.
Additional media, integrated into each piece, are intended to illustrate the threats these animals face at the hands of human cruelty and indifference.
Arousing a Social Vision Quest
In indigenous cultures, a vision quest provides a connection between the participant, the forces of creation, and the natural world. This connection is all too often lost in modern society. It is my hope that the DFA project ignites a social vision quest, in which the audience is compelled to contemplate their own connection with the natural world, and their own role in protecting her.
Drawing for Change
A portion of proceeds generated from the sale of artwork will go to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Additional donations may go to the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and Save the Elephants. These organizations have been selected because their founders and/or directors have demonstrated a commitment of several decades to the protection and rehabilitation of African Wildlife. Click here to learn more about Drawing for Change.
If you are interested in watching the progression of Drawings for Africa, please visit my blog, where I post updates, pictures and videos, and other information related to the project. To receive email updates, please use the “Follow” button in the right sidebar of this page. If you are viewing this website on a mobile device, the “Follow” button is provided further down on this page. You can also follow me on Instagram.
To learn more about African and Asian elephants, check out the About Elephants page.
To get involved, or make donations, please visit the Help Elephants page.
2 African Elephant. World Wildlife Fund, 2017. http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/elephants/african_elephants/
3 Thouless et al. African Elephant Status Report. IUCN, 2016. https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/SSC-OP-060_A.pdf