photos by gerry ellis from the david sheldrick wildlife trust, a nursery and orphanage for elephants in kenya’s tsavo east national park. here, fifty five keepers are charged with being around the clock parents to an elephant. the elephants, however, are the ones who chose their caretakers; it is the keepers who must ingratiate themselves to the elephants and earn their trust.
when elephants first arrive at the orphanage they are often traumatized from having witnessed the slaughter of their mothers and family by poachers. grieving can last several months, and they often lose the will to live. but as dame daphne sheldrick, founder of the orphanage, explains, a caretaker is charged with “persuading an elephant to live when it wants to die.”
approximately 35,000 elephants are killed by humans every year. with an estimated 350,000 elephants left in the whole continent of africa, they will be gone in the wild within ten years.
cbc’s the nature of things did a program on the elephants and their caretakers. you can foster an elephant with the david sheldrick wildlife trust online here. for more on the emotional lives of elephants, as well as the david sheldrick wildlife trust and other human efforts to save them, check out these posts
Daniel Martin (b.1982, Netherlands)
After having left the computer graphics industry in 2013, Leiden based artist Daniel Martin fully committed himself to his art. He attended several art fairs with great success. Being spotted by media as the emerging artist on those fairs his work was shown and talked about on television, radio, various publications and was elected artist of the month in which he was preceded by other prominent dutch artists. Daniel is now preparing for his first big solo show in September. Daniel Martin’s most recent work comprises explicit portraits of defiled faces, and the images have an unsettling expression. It feels like the portraits were deliberately damaged after the painting was completed. This consciously cultivated spontaneity in painting is intrinsic to Martin’s work. A misshapen tree, that imperfection of beauty, is a source of inspiration to Daniel Martin. A ratio affected by chaos. That violation of appearance is anonymous and sidelines the individual’s identity and character, and it makes the faces dissolve or return in nature’s chaos.
© All images courtesy of the artist; src. Saatchi Art