The wildlife was wary
'Two sets of light illuminated the scene'
'This painting is of a very special area for me - The Makgadikgadi Pans in central Botswana. I spent several weeks wandering around this entire region of pans and granite islands in 1981. Out on the edge of the grass plains next to the flat salt pan wildlife was skittish - a few ostrich or gemsbok on the horizon.
One evening I suddenly became aware of a very strange light spreading over the plain. The moon was rising to the East and to the West the sun was setting. Two sets of light illuminated the scene - and the unreal effect that resulted lasted only for a few minutes. Ever since then I have been on the lookout for these special moments that occur on the rising of the full moon, no matter where I am it has an eerie effect that I find very intriguing.'
*THE REFUGIA SERIES:
We live in an era where every square kilometer of remaining wildlife habitat is now under threat. This new series of paintings is my homage to those special areas of Africa which, according to my own extensive experience, are going to be crucial for the survival of species and biodiversity. By definition 'Refugia' describes island-like tracts of land where circumstances have allowed species to survive after extinction in surrounding areas. Twenty thousand years ago, at the height of the last glaciation, the Congo basin was mostly dry savanna and the Namib desert dunes extended right up past the mouth of the Congo River. During that epoch two small rain forest 'refugia' patches remained. When the last glaciation ended twelve thousand years ago these two refugia expanded outwards to become the vast equatorial rain forest belt of today, stretching from West Africa to the Rwenzori Mountains in East Africa.
Present day refugia will be useful in the distant future when humankind has begun to reverse the environmental catastrophe we are now experiencing.