In July, in the wild Virunga park forest of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, four endangered mountain gorillas were found shot dead. Later, the toll was brought to six when the body of a missing female was discovered, with no sign of her infant. Instead of being poached for their pelts or meat, the majestic animals had been slaughtered in execution style, most likely for political reasons.
There are fewer than 700 mountain gorillas in the world. In the DR Congo, the dangerous job of protecting them belongs to a dedicated group of rangers. Often working without necessary supplies and even salaries, these rangers take their lives in their hands every day in their effort to protect the local members of this rare species. They care for the gorillas as they would for friends—knowing each by name, taking an active role in their safety and well-being. Yet the rangers themselves face persecution, torture…and even death for their efforts.
A conservation organization by the name of Wildlife Direct is aiding the rangers’ work by setting them up with blogs and making it possible for donations to be made to them. Using their blog, the rangers can reach the world with news of the plight they struggle against. Through Wildlife Direct, people across the world can help by making a donation.
To raise awareness of this atrocious act and the danger the rangers face, one artist has spearheaded a charity art auction on eBay. California artist Robin Andreae first heard of the rangers through their blog, and was moved to help. Many eBay artists have joined her, offering to auction their art and donate a percentage of the profits to Wildlife Direct. 100% of each donation will go to help the rangers. The artists are enthusiastic and actively involved—they are creating incredibly beautiful tributes to the gorillas, and at the same time offering encouragement to the rangers by commenting on their blog.
The eBay auction for Art Helping Mountain Gorillas is exactly one week away—it begins on September 8th and runs through the 18th. With seven days to go, excitement is high among the participating artists—and I’m among them. Today I just completed my first piece for the auction:
Entitled “Creation’s Denizen,” this piece is 8″x10″, oil on canvas. Taking a somewhat abstract approach, my aim was to highlight a stunning midnight blue sky with a vibrant moon, and almost hint at the figure of a gorilla hidden among the jungle foliage. The intention was to express the beauty of God’s creation, and illustrate how the fabric of all life on earth is intricately entwined.
Just as with all my other work, there’s a tiny mouse hidden somewhere within this painting. Look carefully, and you may find him.
One week to go! Throughout the next few days I’ll be updating my blog with play-by-plays, hoping to share some of the excitement with you. In the meantime, please take a few moments to stop by the Art Helping Mountian Gorillas website. There you’ll find all the details about this worthwhile cause, including a link to the rangers’ blog. You’ll be greeted by a slideshow of some amazing artwork, as well—just a peek at what the excitement will be all about one week from today.