Last week we visited the new wildlife care facility at the SPCA, and here we encountered Willow, a honey badger orphan well on her way to recovery and release by Brett Glasby and his dedicated team. A feisty, all-muscle and boundless energy little mammal very much maligned in our world of unnatural high density honey farming. She was picked up at an early age, lost and wandering randomly near Napier, and it was her lucky day when she ended up at the SPCA, where care is of paramount importance, and her release back into the wild a much anticipated and carefully planned event.
Painting Willow turned out to be just as challenging as standing in her enclosure and keeping any objects safe, Belinda’s bag almost became a toy, and her teeth tended to keep us very vigilant. And it was these very teeth that kept me vigilant as an artist as well, for as the painting neared completion, just standing close to the easel felt a very risky move, expecting the brush to be tugged out of my hand and stripped before my finger was quickly skinned….
Interestingly though, Willow had a great capacity for gentleness, coming up to say hello and inquisitively looking into your eyes, gauging every move, and never stopping, trundling off this way and that, to look, to smell, and then back to see if we had anything of interest to offer. What stood out for me was her intelligent inquisitiveness, something which became the creative motivation for this painting, and a chance to share this wonderful encounter with another of these extraordinary small mammals, our wild neighbours.
The 52Artworks – A Year in Nature Exhibition
The culmination of the 52Artworks journey will be an exhibition to be held at The Cape Gallery in Church Street, Cape Town between the 8th and 27th October 2012. An exhibition walk-through event is being planned.
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