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The Entomologist – Mountain Gorilla and Praying Mantis

There are two species of Gorilla, the Eastern Gorilla and the Western Gorilla, with the Eastern splitting into two sub-species – the Eastern Lowland Gorilla and the Mountain Gorilla.  The Mountain Gorilla is confined to the mountains of Rwanda, the Congo and Uganda.  Living in close hierarchical family groups, and with a lifespan of fifty to sixty years, these Endangered gentle primates are among our closest living relatives.  Their ongoing survival is precarious, with loss of habitat prompting unwanted incursions into farmland in search of food, and the attendant risk of disease from human contact.  I photographed this 180 kg (30 stone) silverback at a zoo.  He had carefully shredded the top of a stick and was studying it intently, while keeping a firm grip on the rest of it with a foot.  In this painting I took him home to his mountains and gave him something more interesting than a stick.   His skin, hair and expression made him a demanding but very worthwhile subject. The Praying Mantis was fun.

Oil painting on linen
Size75 x 75 cm (29.5 x 29.5 in)MaterialOil painting on linenShare
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