2022 was an incredible year here at Rachel Brooks Art. One of my biggest highlights was having my work exhibited for the first time, as a shortlisted artwork in an international art competition!
I entered the Sketch For Survival competition with my artwork of 'John Coe', one of the last orcas in the west coast community. The story of these orca is something I have felt so compelled to share. Many people don't realise we are loosing one of the world's most enigmatic marine species from our shorelines. The west coast community are the only resident orca found in the British Isles, the pod is said to number eight individuals, but in recent years only the two males have been sighted - named John Coe & Aquarius. The Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust has been collating data on this unique orca pod since 1992, since this time no calves have been recorded in the pod.
John Coe is the larger male, possibly one of the largest orca in the world, he is the most distinctive orca in the pod with the large notch in his dorsal fin and bite-size cut out in his tail. I wanted to create a piece that celebrated this animal, who is unfortunately classed as functionally extinct, and the incredible landscape in which they roam.
As a shortlisted piece my artwork was exhibited at all of the Sketch for Survival exhibitions held in 2022. In Norfolk, Edinburgh, a virtual exhibition in New York, and finally at the London OXO. I was invited to attend the opening night of the OXO exhibition, I travelled from Oban to the big capital to see my work proudly hanging in London's Southbank.
It was such an honour to be part of this incredible conservation initiative, alongside so many other talented artists and photographers. The walls were overspilling with talent from the Sketch for Survival competition entries, Focus for Survival photography competition, the junior entries, and professional donations. There was so much incredible work to feast the eyes on. All pieces exhibited were available for auction to raise money for Explorers Against Extinctions nominated projects. 'John Coe' was sold at auction, and the total funds raised from the auction surpassed $60,000 - an incredible achievement in a tough economic time.
If you missed out on bidding there are a small number of limited edition prints of John Coe available on my website.