ABOUT THE SUBJECT
This painting is of the largest privately owned rhino farm in South Africa. These 21,000 acres of former crop and cattle land now holds more than 2,000 near threatened southern white rhinoceros. He, and many other people who own Rhino, have dedicated not only their money and time, but are threatened with the ongoing risk of poachers. I admire them for taking the risk to make a positive change - to restore the rhino populations.
These animals are the only of the 5 rhino species that are not endangered, with an estimated population of over 18,000 in protected areas and private reserves. However, protecting and maintaining the rhinos is an extremely expensive operation that requires a significant number of resources. Hume’s monthly costs grew to around $300k USD in 2019. Because this is such an expensive operation, owners must use multiple avenues to raise funds, typically through charitable donations and profits from ecotourism.
BEHIND THE TITLE
I named this painting 'One Step in Front of the Other' to represent that we are moving forward with progress for the rhinos. Although there is still a long way to go in order to get not only the rhinos, but the pangolins, elephants, etc. to a place where we don't have to worry about the extinction of the species, there is hope for a better future and it will take one step at a time to get there.
'One Step in Front of the Other' is an oil painting on a linen canvas. It is part of my collection 'Inside Africa: Wildlife Conservation and the Illegal Wildlife Trade', a collection dedicated to raising awareness of the daily realities of endangered species in southern Africa and to raising funds for conservation and anti-poaching efforts.
THE INSPIRATION & IMPORTANT MEANING
The painting is inspired by the photograph taken by David Chancellor, a London born award-winning documentary photographer. I am grateful that he has permitted me to use his image for the painting.
This painting is a very important painting to me, as this image inspired the entire collection 'Inside Africa: Wildlife Conservation and the Illegal Trade'. In January 2022, I was looking for an image to draw inspiration from for a painting of an endangered animal, and I found this one. I started drawing the rhinos with charcoal and as I was looking closely, I began to realize that the horns appeared to be sawed down. This simple drawing opened my eyes greatly and that is when I began to research into the endangerment behind the elephants and rhinos in Africa, and opened the door to so many questions and research.