Oscar winning actress Dame Judi Dench is the latest star to show support for Sketch for Survival a fund-raising initiative, part of a wider conservation campaign called Explorers against Extinction, highlighting the threats to endangered species.
Actors, authors, explorers, sports, radio and television personalities have come together alongside prominent wildlife artists to create an extensive collection of wildlife artwork which will be showcased on the evening of 12 October at the Royal Geographical Society in London before being auctioned in aid of specific conservation projects.
Sotheby’s Deputy Director and Specialist in Contemporary Art, Tom Eddison will be on hand on the night to lend his expertise and will run a live auction for select lots. Many of the lots are available to view and bid for now via online auction powered by iRostrum with the rest of the collection, including many big names being added by mid September, as they are received and catalouged. Dame Judi's watercolour should be live on the site by 8 September latest for instance. Registering your interest is quick and easy and allows you to follow your favourite pieces.
The collection has grown to include over 125 artworks in many mediums, mostly featuring endangered species, from wild dogs, lions and polar bears to tigers, giraffes, elephants, rhinos and zebras. Artists and celebrities were asked to spend just 15 minutes sketching or painting to show their support for wildife. 15 is a significant number as one elephant is killed for its ivory in the wild on average every fifteen minutes. At the current rate of decline many iconic species will face extinction within a decade leaving only images.
Oscar winning actress Dame Judi Dench is among the many high profile supporters. Survival expert Ray Mears, TV personality and author Fern Britton, designer Elizabeth Emanual, author Andy McNab, international cricketer Kevin Pietersen, Michelin starred chef Galton Blakiston, MP Norman Lamb, radio DJ Fearne Cotton, Olympian Crista Cullen, Springwatch star Gillian Burke and television presenters Jimmy Doherty and Liz Bonnin are among the many names all putting pencil to paper this summer in the name of wildlife conservation.
Organisers of the campaign, The Real Africa Trust, UK charity of safari specialist Real Africa has been overwhelmed by the response to their campaign. Sara White explains, “It all started with a lioness. A beautiful watercolour inspired by a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania and kindly donated by wildlife artist and conservationist Karen Laurence Rowe to help us raise money for the anti poaching dog squads of Animals saving Animals."
"Lions are fast disappearing from the African landscape, along with other iconic species like elephant and rhino who are being decimated by poaching as well as habitat loss.The Trust supports conservation and education so we wanted to find a way to raise awareness while also raising funds for specific projects, including the anti poaching units."
"We didn’t want to impinge on artist’s time in the knowledge that art is their livelihood so we simply asked for 15 minute sketches. Gradually the collection started to build – we received not only sketches but superb pieces of original artwork, generously donated by artists from all over the world. We've had a wonderful cheetah from France, a beautiful zebra from America and elephants coming from Kenya and Australia for instance. We now have over 125 pieces in the collection including covetable artwork by dozens of prominent wildlife artists – Gary Hodges, Ann London, Katy Jade Dobson, Pip McGarry, Clive Meredith and Angela Sheldrick to name a handful. For anyone who loves wildlife this collection and event is simply unmissable. Bidding starts on celebrity sketches from just £25 and you can bid in the knowledge that your money is going to charities pivotal in the battle to save iconic species.”
The Sketch for Survival exhibition is just one attraction for ticket holders attending the Explorers against Extinction conservation charity event which is also supported by Stanfords, the map and travel book store. Headline speakers at the event include two of the world’s most famous living explorers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Colonel John Blashford Snell. Both explorers have also donated sketches to the Sketch for Survival collection along with explorer Levison Wood and adventurers including Charley Boorman, Ash Bhardwaj, Pip Stewart, Leon McCarron, Laura Bingham and Alastair Humphreys, many of whom are also attending the evening along with other VIP guests, artists and conservationists.
Rhino protection dogs destined for the Okavango Delta will also be in action on the evening with canine expert Daryll Pleasants, founder of Animals saving Animals (ASA). ASA is one of the beneficiaries of the event along with the widely acclaimed charity, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year. Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, home to Sudan and the last northern white rhinos and Rhino Conservation Bostwana will receive rhino protection dogs as a result of fund-raising.
Tickets, which include entry to the Sketch for Survival exhibition can be purchased from Ticket Source priced £20-£100
To view and bid for Sketch for Survival artwork visit http://www.explorersagainstextinction.co.uk/sketch_for_survival
To explore Real Africa's conservation safaris which visit projects supported by the Trust please click here.