Living Walls drawing detail by Alison Nicholls © 2014

Living Walls drawing detail by Alison Nicholls © 2014

Every month I’ll write a post about the piece of art I am currently working on and I’ll show you an image or two. It would have been so much more elegant to call this monthly post “What’s on my easel?” but I work flat on a table, and ‘What’s on my Table” really doesn’t have an artistic ring to it, does it? So we will continue with “What am I working on”.

At the moment I’m working on a piece which will probably be titled “Living Walls in Tanzania”. It is another in my series of conservation-themed paintings and illustrates how the African People & Wildlife Fund in Tanzania are helping protect livestock, predators and habitat with their popular ‘Living Walls’. In a nutshell, this is a program which helps Maasai families build stronger, maintenance-free bomas by using wire interspersed with living fenceposts of various Commiphora species (local trees). The use of a ‘living wall’ which grows around the wire eliminates the need to keep cutting fresh thorny brush to rebuild the boma every few months. The stronger boma prevents livestock being killed by predators at night, and the fact that predators are not killing livestock means retaliatory killing of predators is reduced.

Clever. But complicated. The Living Wall has so many impacts on people, their livelihood, the habitat and wildlife species. And putting this in a painting is proving to be equally complicated. The drawing above is a detail from the full piece, showing the wire of the fence, a predator (spotted hyena), livestock (a goat) and one of the living Commiphora fenceposts. A pencil drawing makes it look simpler than it will be once color is added to the equation. And that’s what comes next…lets hope my painting is as successful as the Living Walls program!

Until next time…

Art Inspired by Africa and Conservation
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0 thoughts on “What Am I Working On? By Artist Alison Nicholls

  1. yogasuji

    Living walls are a fascinating and clever way of negotiating between the interests and welfare of the people, wildlife and nature of the country. I love seeing the initial first steps of a work and understanding the thinking and impetus behind it. Thanks for sharing and look forward to the next step


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