The Protectors
Tamara Venn

The Protectors

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

Limited edition of 150 prints, signed and numbered: 60cm x 76cm.

Printed on HP Matte Litho Paper, 180gsm

Sold unframed. 

This piece is a core part of this collection. It tells the story of an organization called Betreed that is singlehandedly protecting 42,000 hectares of Cambodian savannah. A rare and wild land not well known as much of it has disappeared in past decade due to human actions.

I was invited to spend three nights in one of their stunning wooden houses on stilts (there is also a treehouse!) and during that time I saw (or heard) all of the animals depicted in this painting. Primates like gibbons and Langurs, the tiny muntjacs, pythons and a myriad of birds and insects call this land their home. It is a unique place full of life, colour and beauty – a place that must be protected at all costs.

The Protectors is dedicated to the Betreed team and the brave armed guards that patrol the park day and night against loggers, trappers and poachers. They are all that stand between the existence of this rare habitat and incredibly fragile ecosystem.

As always, the message in this piece is the same, spread the news of these wild lands and do whatever you can to help protect them. The destruction of nature has to end so we (animals and humans) can live. I don’t want to live in a world without beauty, does anyone?

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’.