During the month of April while living in isolation. I did a small painting every day. The work started randomly and took on meaning in the backdrop of the worlds covid-19 crisis: where did it come from? how did it spread? will we always have to keep our distance? how has human society changed? can we make lasting change to our habits? This month I will be posting a selection of the 30 small paintings.
The pangolin is thought to be a vector for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), current thinking is that the virus originated in bats, passed through another host, possibly the pangolin, then mutated before spreading to human beings. You might wonder how a shy creature eking out a living on ants and termites in the jungles of Africa could be taking centre stage in this out break. Little is known about this unique wild mammal’s habits and habitat which make it difficult to care for in captivity. When attacked the creature rolls itself into a ball and is protected by an armour plate of tough scales. That is, protected from every creature except man who simply picks up the ball and walks off with it. One thing that makes the Pangolin special is that it is the only mammal with scales. This unique feature makes it highly prized in Asian medicine, even without any scientific proof. The meat is also considered a health enhancing delicacy and is sold for a high price. They are protected by international agreement as critically endangered of extinction, yet these laws are ignored, and pangolin scales are available in traditional medicine shops and pangolin meat appears on the menu in many restaurants. As I was painting in April, 14 tons of scales from 36,000 animals were seized.
“Some animals you can’t help thinking just seem too innocent for this world, the pangolin is one of those creatures.” Wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas