The Last Elephants
Years ago, Simon Combes wrote in his diary: “‘Africa’s Elephants in Danger of Extinction!’ I was stunned by the cataclysmic headlines in 1989. With the elephants’ plight uppermost in my mind, I decided to paint as large a canvas as my small studio would accommodate. Visually, the painting would ask the question,‘Where are the elephants going?’ There must be uncertainty and bleakness to symbolize the imminent tragedy.
“The line of elephants winds its way over the ridge, perhaps traveling from a lush valley into a dry, inhospitable environment epitomized by a tree’s skeleton and sparse tufts of sun-bleached grass struggling for survival in the infertile ground. Perhaps only in such a stark wilderness can the last of the elephants survive the predations of man.”
Twenty years later, elephants are still at risk for extinction, but there have been some steps in the right direction: shortly after Simon Combes read those alarming headlines, the United States government imposed a ban on commercial import of elephant ivory and many other countries followed suit. Unfortunately, the elephants are not safe as yet and it is up to us to protect them and their habitat.