Eco connection explored

Taelor PeluseyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Susan Jennings-Blythe's portraits of African animals will be on display at the Courthouse Gallery from today until January 10.
Camera IconSusan Jennings-Blythe's portraits of African animals will be on display at the Courthouse Gallery from today until January 10. Credit: Taelor Pelusey

Busselton artist Susan Jennings-Blythe hopes to highlight the plight of animals and help viewers connect with the environment with her latest exhibition, Out of Africa.

The collection of 13 acrylic-on-canvas African animal portraits will open tonight at Busselton’s Courthouse Gallery and will remain on display for three-and-a-half weeks.

Jennings-Blythe told the Times she started the pieces out of her love of animal portraiture, but as the collection grew, so did its underlying environmental themes.

“I like to paint animals, and with that came a desire on my behalf that the viewer will have respect and care for animals,” she said.

“It all comes into caring for the environment and giving everyone their place on Earth.”

The bulk of the collection came together in the past few months and includes a range of African animals, each with a human name.

“I’ve done that because I want people to relate to them on a personal level,” Jennings-Blythe said.

“It’s about respecting and engaging with animals.

“That’s why I’ve done this style of portraiture.”

While never having been to the continent herself, the artist said she was inspired to paint African animals for several reasons.

“Part of it stems from childhood,” she said.

“I’ve always had a love of African animals and they’re something the whole world engages with. “We’re very aware of the conservation issues in Africa, like the threat of extinction.”

The exhibition will be officially launched with a free event at the Courthouse Gallery tonight from 5.30pm-7pm. It can be viewed until January 10, between 10am and 4pm, seven days a week.

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