oil on belgian linen
50 x 60 in
(127h x 152.4w cm)
A dozen primordial beasts gathered around a waterhole like the Knights of the Round Table, ready to defend the kingdom. Kobus Moller, a fellow artist from South Africa, and I knelt behind a small bush thirty-feet away. It was the largest group of white rhinos either of us had ever seen. I could have knelt there hours, but the rocky soil was grinding bone through the skin on my knees. I had to stand up. Since the white rhino’s reputation was that of a docile, non-confrontational giant, we felt confident a slow rise would not disturb them. Then my knee gave out and my arms flailed as I tried to catch balance. Not good. One of these “passive” brutes charged. With 4,000 pounds of force driving it forward, it aimed its sharpened horn tip right at us. Good friend that I am, I unconsciously grabbed Kobus by the arms and held him in front of me like a shield. Kobus’s involuntary show of courage must have impressed the rhino. It called off the charge a few feet before turning us into hood ornaments. I’d saved us. Wonder why I never got a medal? For some reason, Kobus always stands just out of my reach now when we’re in the bush.
“Surviving relics from an early era in the age of mammals, the white rhino is the second largest land mammal on earth. With its wide muscular lips blazing a wide swath, the white rhino is the ultimate grazer eating about twelve hours per day. Kicking up large numbers of insects as they lumber about, finding lunch seems like easy pickings for the cattle egrets.” - John Banovich
BEAST: The Collected Works of John Banovich, Banovich Fine Art Publishing, 2009, p. 75