Donna Collins Elephant conservation took centre stage last weekend with a spectacular art and photographic fundraiser exhibition in Swakopmund hosted by the Elephant Human Relation Aid (EHRA), Peace Project. A selection of over 45 spectacular pieces of art and photographic works were exhibited from local and international artists, who donated a portion of the sale to EHRA’s Peace Project which focuses on protecting Namibia’s desert-dwelling elephants. The fundraising art market was held in the courtyard of the popular coffee shop, Two Beards & a Saint and the Eastern Concept furniture warehouse, which lent a perfectly ‘Zen’ atmosphere for the occasion. The proceeds of sales were donated by the artists towards EHRA‘s elephant education programme. The piece that raised most money was an almost life size oil painting named Legacy, done by Mauritian artist Marie-Christine Pitot, of the ‘ Mama Africa’s’ herd, which is the largest herd in the Ugab River. Other artists who contributed were: Suzaan van der Ryst, Ras Gaths, Liz Visser, Christophe Pitot (EHRA Field Manager), Christin Winter (PEACE Project Manager), Ronell Pretorius, Karin Retief (Photographer), Charl Schombee (Photographer, Guide). “The fundraising exhibition was a great success, and everyone had an amazing time admiring the art and photography, whilst enjoying product tasting from local distilled gin, beer and cheese, in an atmosphere of elephant conservation,” says Christin Winter (EHRA Peace project manager) who is also a part time artist and photographer. Live acoustic guitar from the talented Pluvious duo also added to the atmosphere, with other features such as Natura Africa natural beard oils, soaps and cosmetics on display, Two Beards speciality roasted coffee for the coffee lover, and locally grown fresh market produce from Afritree. “We raised enough funds to finance four of our peace projects, which comprises a five-day course aimed to decrease the human-elephant conflict,” says Winter, explaining the project focuses on empowering communities and schools with the knowledge to co-exist more peacefully with the elephants in their areas by reducing conflicts over water and other natural resources. The EHRA Peace Project also offers, amongst others, conflict management workshop for government rangers, conservancy game guards and professional tour guides. The water point protection programme in which EHRA builds sturdy stone walls around water points, sees volunteers from all over the world contributing to elephant conservation by donating their manpower and funding for the project. Namibia’s desert dwelling elephants are sadly in competition with man for two main resources - water and food, especially during the drought months. Elephants are also one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, particularly for lodges and campsites based in these wilderness areas, which draw thousands of international visitors. This was the second EHRA elephant art exhibition, following one held in June at the FNCC. Art pieces are still available for purchase on an online cataglogue : https://www.art-for-desertelephants.org Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) is a Namibian registered NGO that has been working to conserve the endangered desert elephants in Namibia since 2001.
New Era Reporter
2018-08-03 11:06:27 6 months ago