Guy Combes’ “Phantom” reveals something not seen in East Africa for over 90 years, a rare “morph” cheetah. Not an albino cheetah, it is rather one with an extremely rare genetic color variation significantly reducing its number of spots. Guy was the first to photograph and paint the great cat. The last morph cheetah known to man was shot in Tanzania in 1921. Guy’s urgency to paint it had several motivations: to heighten awareness of its existence and to encourage monitoring and protecting it.
The area where it was discovered is home to one of the highest cheetah populations in East Africa. Important factors to the population size are the lack of larger predators that could threaten their existence, a large prey base and an area relatively protected from new development. This, of course, is the greatest problem that cheetahs face and Combes has faintly suggested an encroaching settlement complete with cell phone tower on the ridge in the middle distance. Beyond are Kenya’s Ngong Hills.
A setting full moon and the rising sun are intentionally symbolic here. The moon represents Artemis, the goddess of animals and forests and the sun, Apollo, the god of arts. The title, “Phantom,” suggests an elusive, mythical entity that exists somewhere between night and day.
- Limited Edition – Giclée Canvas – 28 x 14 – Limited Edition of 50