As an artist, I always hope that I can touch people, leaving a mark with art. My emotions, my thoughts and experiences I let flow into my paintings and wish that this creates a resonance. I hope that you, as a viewer of my art let me into your life, as I let you through my art into mine. Sometimes I also experience - directly or indirectly - from it. This makes me very happy and confirms me in my work.
It happens that I hear about concrete changes that I have been able to bring about with my art. I would like to tell you about one such occasion today.
ABUN project number 34 was not about a single species, it was about the Bwindi National Park in Uganda. It was about nature itself, about the partly endangered animal species and it was about the people who live in the park and from the park.
"Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda is a World Heritage Site most famous for supporting nearly half of the world population of Mountain Gorillas. It is a biodiversity hotspot with 120 mammal species, including a rare race of Chimpanzee among its 11 primate species and rare Forest Elephants, different from the larger Savannah Elephants we think of. It hosts more than 500 species of birds, 220 butterflies, and more than 1000 plant species, including over 100 ferns. Without protection, the forest would be cut and replaced with farms, as it has all around the preserve, where human density is among the highest in Africa. People were displaced in the creation of the park, and with the loss of gorilla tourism because of the pandemic, pressure to exploit the park has increased. Our project intends for art to help build support for peaceful co-existence of people and wildlife in this special area. We want to call attention to and build support for this amazing area from both local and international sources."
- Walt Anderson, Environmentalists, Artists, Professor Emeritus Prescott College
During the project, many wonderful and also extraordinary works of art were created. I myself participated in the project with several works. And I have created a video in which you can see some works of my artist colleagues and also two of my works.
The artwork can be purchased as a poster, mug or greeting card on Etsy. The profits generated go 100% to projects around the Bwindi National Park.
Leaving a mark with art
3 days ago we received the following message from George Luke Twinamasiko, the head of the project in Uganda:
Water covers 70% of our planet, and it is easy to think that it will always be plentiful. However, freshwater—the stuff we drink, bathe in, irrigate our farm fields with—is incredibly rare. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use. As a result, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Inadequate sanitation is also a problem for 2.4 billion people—they are exposed to diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, and other water-borne illnesses.
Two million people, mostly children, die each year from diarrheal diseases alone. Many of the water systems that keep ecosystems thriving and feed a growing human population have become stressed. Rivers, lakes and aquifers are drying up or becoming too polluted to use. More than half the world’s wetlands have disappeared. Agriculture consumes more water than any other source and wastes much of that through inefficiencies. Climate change is altering patterns of weather and water around the world, causing shortages and droughts in some areas and floods in others.
At the current consumption rate, this situation will only get worse. By 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages. And ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.
I am all the more pleased that this well could be realized. But far more are needed!
Would you also like to help people and animals in Bwindi National Park? Besides the mentioned Etsy store, you can also find our artwork in the online store of the Biocultural Conservation Institute. On the website of the institute and on the website of the Green Mountain Initiative, you can find out how else you can help.