Following the trail of paw prints up the stairs as you enter the G2 Gallery should let you know right away that things are going to get a little wild. And not just because art shows have free booze. Although, have I mentioned that I love writing about art? Wine I don’t have to pay for might have something to do with that. Like, a little. Maybe.
Wild, though, is simply the norm for G2, an eco-friendly gallery which focuses exclusively on nature and wildlife photography. Opened in 2008 by Dan and Susan Gottlieb, G2 supports over 40 charitable causes, most environmental but ranging from community supported agriculture and pet adoption to conservation efforts both locally and internationally. Saturday, May 19th, the gallery celebrated the opening of Wild on Earth, a stunning exhibition by award-winning photographer Piper Mackay.
Mackay’s career behind the camera began in 2005 on her first visit to Africa, where a quality lens was recommended for the trip. She has since returned several times, and has earned much recognition for her gorgeous records of African tribal culture and wildlife. In Wild on Earth, Mackay blurs the line between photojournalism and fine art, using Nik software to filter and enhance her candid shots. Her passionate commitment to her subjects allows her to capture some truly intimate and emotional moments, often between mothers and their young. This can especially be seen in the photo series Cheetah Triptych, taken during a full week spent following a female cheetah and her only surviving cub. The same pair is also featured in Mother Cheetah and Cub, honored in 2008 by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and featured in the January 2012 issue of National Geographic.
Mackay believes that highlighting the beauty of the African continent’s fragile ecosystems and vanishing ways of life can inspire people in other parts of the world to experience and preserve them. In addition to being an independent photographer, she also guides photo-safari tours throughout the year, and is the only woman to do so solo in Africa.
Proceeds from Wild on Earth are to benefit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organization operating out of the Tsavo and Nairobi National Parks in Kenya, primarily concerned with caring for orphaned elephants and black rhinoceros. The parents of these orphans are often poaching victims; illegal hunting for ivory and rhino horn is rampant in the area, as well as in nearby Tanzania. Keepers who work with the Trust bond deeply with the animals in their care, as young elephants need very much the same amount of love and attention as human babies. Since its founding in 1977, the Trust has had many successes, most notably one of their early rhino orphans, who is today the paternal ancestor of much of Africa’s remaining black rhinoceros population.
Wild on Earth will run until June 24th. The G2 Gallery is located at 1503 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 90291 (www.theg2gallery.com). For information about sponsoring an orphan in need through the Sheldrick Trust (because lesbians always need more pets, and, aww, elephants), visit www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org.