Come Full Circle
Tamara Venn

Come Full Circle

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Part of the "A Land in Flux" Collection - 2023

Limited edition of 150 prints, signed and numbered: 50cm x 65cm.

Printed on HP Matte Litho Paper, 180gsm

Sold unframed. 

This painting represents a huge conservation success in the bay of Kep, along Cambodia’s coastline. Five years ago this area of ocean was dead, illegal trawler fishing boats had come in and essentially killed all life. Electric fishing nets had been used to kill whatever lived below the sand. It was a ghost ocean until Marine Conservation Cambodia began deploying Jenga inspired block structures throughout the bay. Big concrete blocks are built up on the seabed by their dive team, if a trawler net gets caught in one of these they have to be cut loose, the nets cost thousands of dollars to replace. MCC have deployed around 300 of these anti-trawling structures in the bay and now the wildlife is returning!

Cambodia used to have one of the largest sea grass meadows in SE Asia, the meadows are slowly coming back bringing with them fish, turtles, dolphins, seahorses and the adorable dugong (closely related to the Manatee.)

MCC have effectively rewilded an ocean and have recently been granted funding to deploy these structures along the entire Cambodian coastline giving hope to the sealife as well as the local fishing communities who rely on sustainable fishing to survive.

Thank you so SO much MCC for the incredible work you are doing for Cambodia’s marine life – and for all of us living here.

A Land in Flux: 

"This collection of paintings was created within a span of a year, since the end of my first show, Kaleidoscope, in 2022. This new exhibition is called A Land in Flux since these paintings were conceived, planned, and painted during a time of change in Cambodia.

I wanted to capture the beauty as well as the peril of the collision of nature and humans and the subsequent threat to Cambodia’s ecosystems. I also wanted to document the work of conservation groups that I was fortunate enough to witness. My visits in early 2023 to the island of Koh Ach Seh in Kep Province and later to the Phnom Tnout Phnom Pok Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear Province provided me with the inspiration to paint Come Full Circle and The Protectors.

Animals are almost always the focus of my work and I try to portray them accurately and with attention to detail. I also give space to the imagined by setting the wildlife subjects in lush, often-fantastical botanical settings with flora becoming almost abstract. It is a tricky proposition to balance the real and the romantic. Moreover, colour is at the centre of each of my paintings. I compose them so that colour is as important as the subject matter. I draw much inspiration from artists who are masters in these aspects, such as Henri Rosseau, David Hockney and Helen Frankenthaler.

Finally, I also tried to capture the everyday interactions of humans and animals in Cambodian towns and cities. These scenes may soon be quaint remnants of a bygone era. I can foresee a more developed, faster-paced society leaving no room for these kinds of interactions in the future. I tried to preserve this in the paintings Best Friends and Slow Living.

Cambodia in 2023—these paintings are my way of preserving on canvas a particular place and time. These are visual documents, in a way, of fleeting places and ways of life. While change may be a constant, I believe that we must reflect on how we can—and must—preserve the riches of our natural heritage before we are left with only painted representations and memories".

Tamara Venn is best known for her large scale botanical murals and her contrasting miniature pen and ink illustrations of flora. Originally from London, UK and having studied painting at Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design her work can be seen dotted around Cambodia and the UK. Nature, its brilliance and its fragility in such an increasingly developing world is the subject that runs throughout her work. Each piece celebrates the beauty of the natural world – her mission statement , ‘if we take care of nature now we won’t only be left with painted reminders of what was once here before’.