There may be a few animals as downright funny-looking as a giraffe, but there certainly aren’t any mammals as strange. These gangly creatures look as though they should barely be able to stand, with their spindly legs carrying their bodies and those long, long necks. And yet their grace is such that it is obvious even in photographs. The giraffe is one of the stateliest, most graceful creatures in Africa, not swift like a lion, nor heavy like an elephant, but stately like a stilt-walker. With their long legs and strange knees, they should look odd, but instead they look gentle, curious, and even in some pictures, loving. Bring the grace of the giraffe into your home with a painting.
The art of Africa has always held a prodigious fascination in the Western mind. How do such simple lines come to life in this way? Why the blocks of colour? The art of Africa, it is said, comes from the animals of Africa. When something is colourful in Africa, there are no half-measures. The kingfisher is a shade of blue that artists would swear could not exist in nature, the African Emerald Cuckoo is such a brilliant green that it is hard to believe it is real. In the same way, the creatures of Africa take camouflage seriously. When a lion is lying in the tall grass, he blends so perfectly it is almost like magic. That is the duality of African art – on the one hand, browns and golds and faded green, while on the other, the bright, bold jewel colours of a madman’s rainbow.
Nobody knows exactly why, but the zebra is actually a funny animal. With the stripes and the short little mane, they’re like horses but not quite, like donkeys but again, not quite. The sound they make is completely unexpected, especially if you’re looking at it thinking it’s just a strange looking horse. Even their gait is strange – ask anyone who is familiar with the way a horse runs to listen to a zebra running, and you’ll see. But for all their strangeness, they have an air of cheer. Maybe it’s their stripes, which make them look a little like old-style prisoners, and a little more like they are wearing pyjamas. Whether it’s their stripes or their ears or their weird little Mohawk manes, zebras always tend to bring a sort of cheerfulness to wherever they are. Have some of that cheer for yourself by incorporating a canvas print into your décor.
Nobody ever went on safari to see a mouse. No, people go on safari to see the famous Big Five. The wise and gentle elephant, with her sad old eyes and flapping ears. The lion, his mane catching the sun just so. Leopard lounging in a tree, lord of all he surveys. The water buffalo, one of the most dangerous creatures on Earth, and the rhino, one of the most badly endangered. Each of the five is different, each of them unique in their own way. The lion is powerful but lazy, content to rest on his laurels while the lionesses do all the work. The elephant, the most massive land mammal, is calm, but with a surprising sense of fun. The leopard is cool, surveying the world from the safety of whatever high perch he has chosen. The water buffalo and the rhino are powerful, strong, difficult to kill – although clearly, in the rhino’s case, not difficult enough. Infuse your home with a sense of primal power with canvas prints from the Safari Animals collection.