Bad Day, 2012
oil on belgian linen
90 x 105 in
(228.6h x 266.7w cm)
Tom Siebel, the founder of Siebel Systems, commissioned one of the most thrilling and powerful works Banovich has created, “Bad Day” to memorialize the elephant attack he barely survived. In August of 2009 Seibel was on safari in Tanzania when the attack occurred, the extensive injuries he sustained resulted in a long road to recovery. The background shows the African safari with a grazing herd of elephants; however the main focus is that of the hulking female elephant that is thundering toward the viewer with only a few feet to spare before contact. The piece transports the viewer to the last terrifying moments Seibel faced before the elephant struck. This huge painting carries the detail of a photo but with more action and dimension, as though the safari grasses as well as the stampeding elephant could break through the canvas at any moment.
“I know this area in the Serengeti’s western corridor well, and the human-animal conflict is a daily occurrence along the game reserve’s isolated border. I think Tom Siebel will not only be remembered for his many business and philanthropic accomplishments but as a guy who survived the un-survivable. Although he did nothing to provoke the elephant charge (however, his guide failed in keeping him safe) he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and the cow elephant was simply protecting her herd from a perceived threat. This painting will always be one of the most personal works I have ever created. It took extensive research to accurately portray the profound event that changed Tom’s life forever and the painting will tell the story for generations to come.”” – John Banovich
Banovich has created many paintings of elephants and African wildlife–though none with such a haunting back-story. The artist spent considerable time researching and reviewing the attack scene, as well as photographs and videos of cow-elephant attacks, in order to accurately capture the hulking animal in action.