I was asked to paint a lion for Tusk to raise awareness of the declining population of lions in the wild. the lions were situated all around London, UK, The Hamptons, USA, Cape Town, Africa and New Zeland.
‘Suffering Saviour’ is inspired by Looney Tunes Sylvester The Cat. The title refers to Sylvester’s trademark exclamation: “Sufferin’ succotash!”, which is a minced oath of “Suffering Saviour”.
The striking colours of Sylvester belie a more menacing aspect of the piece – that of a recent kill. In one reality we see the demise of Tweety Pie, in another the wildebeest. As apex predators, lions play an extremely important role in bringing balance to the food chain. They operate as negative feedback on prey populations, providing ecological stability. Lion poaching threatens that stability. The title ‘Suffering Saviour’ illustrates that they are not just majestic, beautiful animals, but also guardians to a whole ecosystem.
Having lost over 90% of the Lion population in the last century, there are now less than 23,000 left. By protecting Lions we also preserve their habitat which helps climate change mitigation by protecting these carbon-capturing biodiverse environments. After the public display, the Lions will be auctioned at Christie’s to raise funds for Tusk’s conservation program.