April 2017 Art Selection
Running Before the Storm, gifted to Art for the Life of Elephants in the summer of 2015 by artist and teacher Mary Ann Harkness, is this month’s pick and dedicated to the memory of Satao 2 who was savagely killed by two poachers in the Tsavo National Conservation Area in Kenya. Mary’s watercolor, one of my favorites, is her painting from a photo she took during a safari through Tsavo National Park in 1967 when she was in Kenya with World Campus Afloat. The piece depicts just one occasion; a day when she came across an elephant herd. “The piece shows exactly what we saw,” she told me, ” By the end of the day I had stopped taking photos of elephants because we had seen so many roaming across the park.”
Now there are only 6 of the big tuskers left within Tsavo reserve (twice the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park) is home to the highest population of large-tusked elephants in the world, the ‘super tuskers’, and a devastating blow to their gene pool. There are now approximately 25-30 these magnificent creatures – the super tuskers – left in the whole of Africa and only 15 emerging tuskers (young bulls who have the genes and potential to become tuskers).
When Mary Anne heard the news she said, “It’s very sad to think they are almost gone. Unimaginable. Wish I had taken more photos.”
ALE’s hope is to gift this piece in exchange for a direct donation to Save the Elephants in Kenya via the Wildlife Conservation Network in San Francisco. Our fear is these elephants have nowhere to run or hide. It has been very difficult in the US to draw attention to any cause these days with trumpets of another kind dominating the media. And to be truthful, ALE is not at all optimistic about the future of elephants in the years ahead. Nonetheless we must confess the difficulty we feel in letting go of our desire to help those on the ground in Kenya trying to the largest of mammals on earth.
Goodbye Satao 2. We hope you can find peace now in the memory of those who once witnessed the runs you once made for the joy of living and from storms that were short-lived.