African Savannah Elephants, Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda.
This little elephant calf and his mum were walking alone across the vast plains of the Kidepo valley, a region that until recently had had an unsettled existence on the border of South Sudan. As he drew level with us the little one lifted his trunk to sniff the air, their backs still damp from the torrential rain that had just fallen. He seemed so proud walking in front, leading the way with his mum following.
This image of the elephants in Kidepo formed the basis to this artwork. Initially I converted it to monochrome, which allowed me to lighten the grasses and also darken the elephants and some of the shadows and trees in the background. Helping the elephants to pop in the composition and become the focus of the picture, whilst the trees created a subtle background giving a sense of place and grounding the image. Like many of my artworks the style and colours then seemed to evolve themselves, with several textured images layered in and allowed to show through in varying degrees – the blue mostly removed from the elephants although left to highlight the damp patches on their backs from the rain. It became timeless, almost ethereal, which is what the landscape of Kidepo evoked in me. An awe and wonder for a place neglected, forgotten even by the outside world and yet at the same time ravaged by civil war and unrest. These elephants had struggled for survival but now things were brighter for them, stability had returned and a future for this magnificent place seemed possible and not just a dream.
WHY ELEPHANTS NEED YOUR HELP:
It is well known and documented that elephants are in trouble. Poaching for the international ivory trade and habitat loss is bringing this species to their knees. The latest report on African elephant numbers conducted in 2016 painted a bleak picture, just 415,000 remained on the continent and their numbers had plummeted by 100,000 in the space of the previous decade, with many estimates suggesting the annual rate of decline had increased during that time. As recently as March 2021 the IUCN red list was updated for African elephants, they were recognised and assessed as 2 separate species for the first time – the more well known African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) was upgraded to Endangered and the rarer African forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) listed as Critically Endangered.
Whilst the picture is certainly bleak there are opportunities for hope and optimism that it is possible to help this species and many others. An organisation that is helping in some of the most vulnerable parts of Africa, and protects both species of Elephant is the African Parks Network. A non-profit conservation organisation, that takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. I have seen first hand their incredible work in Zakouma National Park in Chad. Zakouma’s elephants had been ravaged by poachers between 2002-2010. Durning this 8-year period, 4000 elephants (95% of the population) were slaughtered for their ivory. In 2010 African Parks signed an agreement with the Chadian Government and got to work to change the fortunes of this incredible place and it’s wildlife and people. In the last 11 years only 24 elephants have been known to have been poached and none have been poached since 2016!! After years of trauma the elephants have found safety and resumed breeding, the population is increasing and the future for them, all the wildlife, as well as the communities around Zakouma, who had also been terrorised by the armed rebels who desecrated their elephants, is brighter and filled with hope and possibility.
By purchasing this print, you can support incredible stories like the tale of Zakouma. I will donate 20% of the profit from every sale to African Parks to assist them in their incredible work to protect and rebuild the lives and livelihoods of some of Africa’s most vulnerable people and wildlife. If you would like to find out more about African Parks or support them directly, you can visit their website here: https://www.africanparks.org
Instead of offering bulk mass-produced prints, I want you to know that you are buying something special and unique. I feel that people should purchase fine art photography prints because the artwork speaks to them and they feel an emotional connection to the print and the photographer. All my prints are strictly available as low number limited edition runs. As a limited edition print sells its price will appreciate accordingly in the online store, as fewer remain available to purchase.
This picture is printed on archival grade fine art Hahnemühle Photorag paper. If you have not seen this before it a softly textured paper that gives a wonderful quality to an image, really empathising the idea of the texture you would imagine if the elephants were actually standing in front of you. It is a brilliant paper for bringing out the subtle tones and textures.
I recommend that when you receive your print that you have it properly mounted and framed by an experienced professional frame shop to ensure the maximum care and longevity of your artwork.
Should you wish to purchase a limited edition print in a different size to that listed, please contact me and I will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide a quote for the cost to produce the print in your desired size. I am also happy to provide quotes for framing or printing onto Chromaluxe if you would like to have your print sent to you ready for you to hang on your wall.