For this exhibition I have found interest in the South African mammals which are on the IUCN red list. One of our most precious large cats particularly grabbed my attention as it is the fastest land mammal, and its populations are rapidly declining. There are less than 7000 mature individuals left in Africa.
The Cheetah is a wide ranging carnivore, never attaining densities higher than 2 individuals per 100km(square). Thus a great cause of the population decline is due to habitat loss and fragmentation. If they live outside protected areas they are vulnerable to conflict with livestock farmers and can result in their deaths. In further parts of Africa Cheetah are still being sold off for the illegal pet trade industry as well as sadly killed for their skins.
Another cause which opened my eyes to how we are personally affecting the decline is through the unregulated tourism. Cheetahs, especially with cubs, are a major tourist attraction and commonly attract large numbers of vehicles (a case study observed 64 vehicles present at one sighting over a period of 2 hours). It is important to be aware of strict viewing guidelines when we do visit and view wildlife. The rise in tourism has caused stress on the mothers with cubs and less and less cubs are reaching adulthood.
Although the population numbers are declining, we can be proud as South Africans that the majority of the number of Cheetahs left reside here in our homeland. We have very strict rules when it comes to setting up fencing around land, and our national parks and reserves are paying close attention to the protection of this precious species. With this in mind it is still of high concern that many of the areas where Cheetah occur suffer from lack of capacity and financial resources to support their conservation.
My aim is to create awareness by highlighting these factors through my painting. “The Winds and Waves of Change” visually explores raising environmental awareness of tourism’s impact, rising human populations, and social changes leading to ever increasing subdivision of land and subsequent habitat fragmentation. By sharing the message of this alarming situation, perhaps we can protect this beautiful big cat for many generations to come.
Ingrid Nuss is an artist residing in Wilderness. Inspired by the immense natural beauty of her surroundings. She has experimented in various styles and mediums for her own growth and progress, which resulted in her innermost expressive style “Universurrealism”.
“My work is a visual exploration of the combination of science, nature and spirituality, like the universe in which we exist… Through my work, I wish to express the space between what we perceive as reality and our inner world, where we are constantly shifting and changing on a spiritual and cosmic level.“