I was contacted by the gallery .M Contemporary, late last year, in Sydney, to produce an illustration on something I was passionate about. It is currently displayed in an exhibition of theirs showcasing 50 illustrators from around the world.
One of my passions is Indonesia. I have been there many times, and have just fallen in love with the country, and in particular Sumatra. A big concern over there is Deforestation for Palm Oil Plantations. The demand for palm oil, which is fuelling much of the forest clearance has risen in recent years to meet a global demand for biofuels. Sumatra has a huge range of plant and animal species only found in Sumatra, but has lost almost 50% of its tropical rainforest in the last 35 years to deforestation. Many of these species are critically endangered such as the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhino, Sumatran Orangutang, Sumatran Elephant, the Malayan Sun Bear and the Sunda Clouded Leopard. There are only 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild.
My idea behind this illustration is to help create awareness to this problem. I wanted to create a heavenly type of Sumatran jungle scene with all the animals existing together in harmony, going about their day, plentiful. This idea is enhanced with the god rays and lighting effects. To contrast with this “heaven”, I have created the current/future in the reflection of the water. You can see this rainforest/jungle has been cleared for all of the logs on the ground. The reflection of the tiger who is looking at you and commanding you attention, asking you to stop, the culprit... is a man with an axe. You can also see an Orangutang that has been harpooned, one being carried away dead, and the new palm plantations to the left. My aim was to create something you want to look at, something beautiful, something that draws you in and after close inspection you can see what is really going on. I hope I have you thinking.