In 2017 Fred Clark spent two months on Borana Conservancy as part of an artists’ residence. The result was a series of works depicting Africa wildlife and endangered species in their natural habitat.
The following words are by courtesy of Antonia Filmer, published on 26th November 2018 for The Sunday Guardian India.
Fred Clark is a graduate of English Literature from Newcastle University and an of The Alumni of Royal Drawing School; he is an artist through and through with a thoughtful character and conscience.
His painterly travels have taken him across Andalucia, Cuba, India and Burma resulting in charcoal sketches of Pushkar camels and oil paintings of the Gangesat dawn. In 2017 Clark confided that he had been frustrated in his efforts to do something artistic for animal conservation, he had a vision of drawing large charcoal elephant and he wanted to link up with and to benefit a charity. In preparation of realising his dream, he had been practising drawing a donkey on 4 foot square sheets of paper, but so far charities had not taken up his offers of raising awareness through drawing.
Destiny intervened in November last year and Clark with his wide wife Claudia, a photographer, were invited for an artist’s residency at the Borana Conservancy in Lakipia, Northern Kenya. Michael Dyer, Principal at Borana, offered the couple free-range over the 30,00 acres dedicated to the sustainable conservation of critical habitats of elephants, rhinos, big cats and antelopes on the brink of extinction. Borana Rangers took the Clarks to work face to face withwildlife, Fred drew large and small scale sketches of elephants, white and black rhino, buffalo, giraffe, cheetah, lion, baboon, zebra and Claudia. To catch the immediacy of the situation Clark chose to work in charcoal and ink, he says “Initially I wanted to use only black and white so that I could focus on drawing, to keep the studio work as close as possible to the initial encounter. As I went on I realised the delineation of white vs black as light vs dark, birth vs death, and so many other opposites, applies perfectly to a land of contrasts, where flood follows drought, where lush grass becomes parched earth, where the hand that deals death is also the giver of life to others. Death is everywhere in Africa, not in a morbid way but its inescapable. And if you look at a painting like Guernica; Picasso’s great war painting, black and white is the only palette for that subject. It’s all about light and dark.”
The result is Clark’s “On The Line” four day exhibition at the Noho Studios in the West End of London. The drawings are full of movement and life; this is the wildlife that Clark wants to draw attention to and preserve, he quotes President Roosevelt observing an infinite number of beasts during his 1910 tour of Africa, alas now 100 elephants are killed everyday on that continent.
Claudia Legge (aka Mrs Clark) took invaluable photographs of Rangers, one of which now hangs in the National Gallery’s Wessing Exposition and Fred Clark has lived up to his philanthropic promise of benefitting a charity; he donated a large drawing of ‘an obstinacy of buffalo’ to the Borana Fundraising Ball which realised £3,500 and 10% of the above exhibition goes directly towards conservation efforts on the ground at Borana. Out of 56 images in the exhibition 48 have been sold, a testimomy to Clark’s talent and commitment, and Borana’s goodwill to a young and sentient artist.
To view the original article please click here.
Most of the pieces from the exhibition have been sold, to buy one of the remaining pieces and to view’s Fred’s work click here. Fred is also open to commissions.
Fred will have a Christmas pop-up exhibition at The Love Brand Co. 5 Park Walk, Chelsea, London, SW10 0AJ. Please get in touch with Fred for more details.