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    While on the surface 'Chains of Conservation' can be interpreted as symbolic of the moral and ethical injustice of elephants being held in captivity, the true meaning of this work is rooted much deeper in a harsh criticism of humanity for the environmental crimes that have regrettably made these current living conditions of not only elephants, but numerous other species, necessary for their survival.

    Over the past two decades, climate change and habitat destruction have contributed to the decline in wild elephant numbers. However, the most serious cause of the drastic reduction in elephant population, brought about by humans, is poaching. Fueled by greed, money and power, the lucrative industry of illegal ivory trade has seen the global elephant population fall to only around 600,000 - a decline of over 50% within the the last 35 years. With the death toll estimated at about 40,000 per year, it is safe to assume that the wild elephant will be virtually extinct within the next 15-20 years. Only a handful will remain in captivity. These survivors are, and will be, subjected to a life of imprisonment and suppression, confined within a cramped environment and never experiencing a life of freedom for fear of death at the hands of humanity. While wildlife conservation parks do provide security and conserve the life of various endangered animals, they are still a prison in which the animals are stripped of their freedom and made to endure a prolonged and inevitable death. Thus, ironically, robbing such animals of the very thing they are trying to protect.

    What's more, this work of art attempts to highlight the serious issues that captivity imposes on animals, both mentally and physically. Elephants held in captivity (particularly in Asia) are often forced against their will to obey human instruction in order to put on theatrical shows and performances, and are often subjected to physical violence and torture as punishment for resisting. And all of this is done in the name of entertainment. It is these environmental, social and ethical crimes which this work strongly challenges. It not only emphasizes the harsh reality of a life in captivity but also strongly criticizes the horrific actions and ignorance of humanity which have condemned these innocent creatures to this reality.
    The stark contrast of black and white used within the artwork aims to create a bold and powerful image which scolds the selfish and consumerist mentality of humans that has led us to destroy some of natures most wondrous spectacles for financial and personal gain.

    This mixed media drawing was made using graphite and charcoal pencils on 22X30 inch Arches 300gsm hot-pressed paper.

    Provenance / History of This Item:

    This work of art was shortlisted for the David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year 2016 award and has been exhibited at the Mall Galleries, London as one of the selected finalists.
    As such, this artwork is available to purchase through the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (as per the competition terms and conditions) where half of the sale profits will be donated to the foundation to help wildlife conservation.
    Sale of this artwork will otherwise continue on, unless a sale is agreed via DSWF as a result of the exhibition.

    Listing Number: 2738089404

  • Subject:
    Image/object size (inches):
    22 (height)
    30 (width)
    0 (depth)
    Overall size (inches):
    22 (height)
    30 (width)
    0 (depth)


    The above image is an estimate of the size of the image/object compared to an average person. Box will only show a max 70 inches height x 70 inches width.

Elephant Foot in Steel Chains and Lock

Chains of Conservation
Polluk, Matthew

For Sale by Artist

London, United Kingdom

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