Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
ON Tuesday, wildlife artists converged at the Natural History Museum in Bulawayo to kick-start a month-long exhibition meant to raise awareness on the importance of conserving nature. The exhibition is set to run till September 23 at the establishment.
Annually, the world celebrates World Wildlife Conservation Day on December 4 to spread awareness on preserving the earth’s endangered flora and fauna, but never urgent has the need been for wildlife conservation with wildlife numbers plummeting each passing day.
The George Mgona Art for Conservation Trust, in collaboration with the National History Museum and the Environmental Management Agency collaborated for a common cause. Under the theme, “Go Nature Go”, the art exhibition in its second year, roared into life and the attendance was satisfactory with hordes of people attending to voice their disdain at human behaviour that endangers wildlife.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the exhibition, 13-year-old artist Kyle Ashborne said he felt honoured to be part of the exhibition.
“It’s such an honour to be part of something meaningful. I might be the youngest exhibitor in the house and getting to learn more on wildlife conservation at a tender age will only help me as I develop into a fully-fledged wildlife artist,” he said.
The guest of honour at the event, Hlengisizwe Khumalo who is a research fellow at the department of wildlife management at the National University of Science and Technology gave a keynote address, citing issues to do with embracing and protecting nature.
“We live in precarious times where we need to be conscious of our environment. The air we breathe, the water we drink, trees and wildlife that encompass us and every natural resource at our disposal needs our protection.
“Art has the power to change perceptions since, with every piece, emotions are evoked. We need to utilise this powerful tool to amplify our voices towards behavioural change with regard to the preservation and protection of our wildlife. As we discuss these issues, my question to you is, ‘As a wildlife artist, are you a wildlife conservationist?’,” Khumalo asked.
Acrylic on canvas, graphite and charcoal, oil on canvas, oil on paper, photography, pastels, and watercolour on paper were all on full display at the event. Mbalenhle Khumalo and Madalitso recited poems on wildlife preservation while Emmanuel Mgona and Weellie sang a song to amplify the voices of those species who cannot say a word of their own.
Recently, just a stone’s throw away from the National History Museum, Sunduza Dance Theatre staged a play titled, “The Other Cecil” at the Bulawayo Theatre to heighten issues around poaching of wildlife and trophy hunting, something that is depleting the numbers of wildlife significantly. – @eMKlass_49