Lost – Wildebeest
(scroll down for description)
36” x 36”, acrylic, 1999

Nature is beautiful. Nature is cruel. But nature doesn’t know it. Nature just is. In the great plains of Africa, the "big game country", all aspects of nature are played out before your eyes. Birth, courtship and death are all connected. And feeding connects everything in a great circle. Everything is either eating or being eaten.

Africa is the only place left on earth where one can view vast herds of ungulates in all directions as far as the eye can see. Although there are many species, by far the most abundant are the wildebeest. In a sense they provide the fodder, the meat, for the predators. They appear to us to be charming and ugly and silly at the same time but their main asset is their fertility. Perhaps that is why they can be careless with their young.

This young wildebeest is only a few hours old. It still has its umbilical cord, but it has already made two mistakes. It went to the wrong female to nurse and was rebuffed, then got confused and lost its mother. The other mistake was to not stay with the herd when it moved along. Wildebeest are constantly on the move and need each other for survival . . . especially, of course, the nursing young. He will never have the opportunity to feed again and will most likely be a snack for a hyena pack within hours. Luckily for him, he doesn’t know it.