Cleve Hicks, who led our 2012-2103 survey to Bili, has submitted these two watercolor paintings he made of chimpanzees from Northern DR Congo to the Endangered: Art for Apes contest. Check their on-line gallery.
‘I painted this portrait of an unknown chimpanzee in Northern DR Congo to reflect the uncertain future faced by Africa’s great apes. I spent the last 10 years working on a research and conservation project near the town of Bili, studying a large population of previously undocumented chimpanzees. I imagine this to be a young male Bili chimpanzee, who has ventured out onto the savanna’s edge as dusk approaches, only to be startled by something he has seen or heard on the horizon. The glow of a human-lit bushfire? The retort of a military gun fired at an elephant? Loud celebrations at a gold mining camp? A lion’s roar? I don’t know, but this chimpanzee senses that something is amiss. Given today’s situation, as the bushmeat trade expands in tandem with massive human incursion into formerly pristine chimpanzee habitat, he is wise to be wary.’
‘I painted this watercolor of the chimpanzee orphan Kathé, who we rescued in the town of Likati, Northern DRC, in 2007. Kathé’s front teeth had been pried out with a hot knife, but this had done nothing to squash her endlessly playful, rambunctious character. The painting was sold to a dear friend to raise money for the chimpanzee sanctuary in which Kathé finally found a home, the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Center.
The Endangered: Art for Apes group works to raise awareness of wildlife conservation issues around the world through the visual arts, and all proceeds from the exhibition go towards the Center for Great Apes.