Lin Barrie – Zimbabwe’s Alpha Female for Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife_Painted wild dog Pack, acrylic on loose canvas

By Godknows Homwe

African unprotected wildlands have become powerful magnets for illegal and unregulated hunting and poaching. It is estimated that one hundred years ago there were over half a million African painted dogs/wild dogs throughout Sub – Saharan Africa – this figure has dropped to an estimated 4500- 6000 animals scattered in small populations, with Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Tanzania holding the most viable populations. However, who knew paintbrushes in a talented artist with wildlife conservation at heart, can be a creative protective tool for endangered painted wild dogs.

Art, Wine, and Wild dogs

Gonarezhou National Park lapping against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel that is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe’s Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes, and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem.

This is home to an artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears, and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation.

Lin painting iconic painted dogs on acrylic on loose canvas 140 x 185 cm

The subjects of Lin’s paintings are the iconic wild-dogs of the Gonarezhou National Park, each one with a defined character in each of her oil paintings, the narrative of life in this pristine corner of Zimbabwe. Through her work, one cannot help but feel an emotional connection with the magnificence of this region and the charm and beauty of the painted dogs.

“Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas.”

Lin’s work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden, and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya, and Florida, USA.

African wild dogs have benefitted from Lins art and wines, “Part proceeds of sales of many of my wild dog paintings go towards the two conservation projects in Zimbabwe and African Wildlife Conservation,” she said.

Lin often works together with winemaker Jeremy, of Painted Wolf Wines, raising awareness and funding for African wild dogs, together with other wildlife conservation organizations. Her artwork has become wine labels. The Painted Wolf labeled wines painted by Lin are later auctioned to raise awareness, for instance, auction by the Tusk Trust in the UK at the Friends of Lewa dinner.

Painted Wolf Wines is involved with a number of conservation organizations in Southern Africa and has provided resources of funds to The Endangered Wild Life trust, The Tusk Trust, The Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, and the Painted Dog Conservation and African Wildlife Conservation Trust in Zimbabwe.

Lin’s collections are hauntingly beautiful, others strikingly dramatic and yet more magical ethereal; downing the Painted Wolfs Wine collection that captures the soul of African wild-dogs in all their many moods.

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