It's the Nature of the Beasts, 2017
oil on belgian linen
57h x 98w in
144.78h x 248.92w cm
SOLD PRiVATE COLLECTION
Artist Statement on “It’s the Nature of the Beasts”
The tallest animal to walk the planet today is an old giraffe bull, often standing 19 feet tall and weighing in at over 3000 pounds, these colossal giants have few enemies - unless they reside in one of the very few areas in Africa where lions specialize in giraffe hunting. Weighing up to six times more than a lion and spectacularly powerful a giraffe can deliver a kick that will kill a lion outright and so the lion’s undertaking is one of great risk and requires a special skill and, like any hunting, a great degree of patience and luck. I first came across this phenomenon over a decade ago and with my deep interest for big game and even more so, big game with big teeth, I was captivated and I knew I had to find a way to study and subsequently paint this story. I resolved to find a place where I could witness first hand this rare and little observed behavior and I found my way to the Bubye Valley Conservancy, an area of almost a million acres that was, just 30 years ago, the largest cattle ranch in Africa. Through exceptional management and planning the area has been turned back to its former wild glory and is now an intact ecosystem and home to the most stable lion populations in Africa. Several of the resident prides have begun to specialize in giraffes and I was fortunate to find a group of exceptionally large males and their fresh giraffe kill that I was able to observe over several days.