Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Zebra Art

A zebra glistens under the arches and is the creation of the Michael Joo which he called "Stubbs (Absorbed)" which is a reference to George Stubb's portrait of a zebra , an animal which was kept in the British royal family's menagerie after it was gifted to Queen Charlotte.  Joo was struck by the zebra's incongruous English countryside setting in the painting.
It may not be obvious in my photographs but Joo's zebra has a highly reflective surface which is meant to absorb the external environment of the sculpture and he says he would love to exhibit it in a forest.  Stubb's 1763 portrait was so detailed that zoologists from a later century could identity it as a Cape Mountain Zebra, the smallest of the species.
The mountain zebra was the choice of another artist so it must have been why Jonathan Kingdon's "Hartmann's Mountain Zebra" was placed nearby. There is a bit of a scientific dispute as to whether the Cape and Hartmann are two similar distinct species or the same one. The person to ask would definitely be Jonathan Kingdon for not only is he an artist and sculptor but also a zoologist and science author. It was while putting together his 'An Atlas of Evolution in Africa' that he asked himself the question - what are zebra stripes for? He continues "After months and years of observation in many parts of East Africa and quantitative experiments with painted stripe panels I concluded that stripes, for zebras, had become a sort of bonding device... served to make any zebra attractive. An important quality in the progressive socialisation of a famous curmudgeonly mammal"

I like the sweeping mane on the sculpture and whatever the zebra stripes are for they are always mesmerising so here is the real thing - Hartmann's Mountain Zebra. 
Equus zebra hartmannae - Etosha 2015.jpg

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at Z here