Filling the scenes are dramatic portrayals of predators and prey as only Brian Jarvi can paint them. It is a grand idyllic montage. As one point of visual entry, we, as primates, relate to the point of view of a bonobo, a pygmy chimpanzee, seated on an elephant. He is looking down on a human in the scene, which symbolically represents humanity. In this grandeur we are confronted with the possibility that all of it could disappear.
What Brian Jarvi endeavors to create is something momentously novel—a grand panoramic that invites viewers to become a participant in the experience. Jarvi`s ambitious concept is without rival among his living contemporaries in wildlife art.
Regarded as one of the finest dramatic painters in the wildlife genre, Jarvi is also a conservationist who seeks to address ecological challenges through his art. An African Menagerie: The Inquisition addresses an extinction crisis that presently confronts six major species.
Unlike extinctions going back to the age of dinosaurs, the current episode is the only one that has occurred during the tenure of Homo sapiens—Man. The spiraling loss of biological diversity, prominent ecologists say, stands to erase many of the Earth`s iconic megafauna and other smaller animals that imbue our quality of life with wild richness.
The compelling question that Jarvi posses through his art is this: Are we as a society going to let extinction happen on our watch? Or will we take action? He does not see it framed as a partisan issue. For him, it is a moral and ethical question that strikes at the very heart of our ability as a species to empathize with the plight of other life forms.
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