Nature and Culture Animals of Morocco - exhibition summary

flyer - final, front 210x95mm

Last month, the Zoological Gardens of Rabat celebrated it's first anniversary and I was extremely happy to have the occasion to display new drawings and watercolours, along side an on-going series of paintings that I've been working on over the last 18 months, in a solo exhibition, entitled Nature and Culture: Animals of Morocco.  

His Majesty, Mohammed VI, has established a zoo that is amongst the very best in the world.  The zoo lies within the new green belt around Rabat and there are plans for it to become completely self sufficient in recycling, waste and water over the next five years.  The extensive gardens and grounds of the zoo are planted with many native specIes and the animals live within 5 eco-systems.  Using natural boundaries as much as possible, keeping the animals in groups and pairs, often sharing enclosures with other similar species and creating enclosures where you can walk inside, helps tremendously in both the welfare and stimulation of the animals as well as enriching the public's experience.  Rabat is a wonderful example of what zoos can be and demonstrates the vital role zoo's have to play in helping to conserve the world's most vulnerable wildlife and educating communities, both locally and internationally.  

Whilst many species are represented at Rabat Zoo, it's primary focus is on promoting the awareness and conservation of Morocco's own natural heritage.   It is a real privilege for me to spend time observing all the animals here, but in particular, one species is especially important.  Rabat Zoo is home to thirty-three Barbary Lions, there are no longer any Barbary lions left in the wild and this is the largest collection in the world and one of the very few to have 100% Barbary DNA.  Barbary Lions were hunted to extinction in the wild last centuary, data on their decline and possible recovery is still being analysed and compiled and their fate remains in the hands of a few zoos and conservation centres that are working to protect this incredibly important sub-species.  It is largely thanks to the Royal Family's private collection and success with breeding these lions that any have survived until today.  It is an amazing experience to sit and watch these truly magnificent animals and appreciate that it is their ancestors that have come to inform, enrich and symbolise such a lot to so many different cultures around the world.  

The beautiful gallery at the zoo has been a gift of a space for me to show my paintings in and I'm inspired by the opportunity I was given to assist the zoo in spreading their message of the need to value and protect our wildlife, conserve native habitat and teach our children about our natural world.   My thanks again to everyone at the zoo and to the sponsors, Nespresso for organising this event with me and to everyone who came to visit and supported the exhibition.  The paintings will continue to hang in the gallery until May so if you are travelling to Morocco please go and visit the zoo!

In the following postings you can see photos of the exhibition, the zoo itself as well as photos of two paintings created with the children from the Lion's Club Malaika schools in Rabat and Sale for down syndrome and special needs kids.  There is also a short video, covering the exhibition, originally broadcast on 2M on the 21st January.  You can also see the photos and video on my facebook page, please click on the link in the sidebar.  

 © Caroline Fulton 2011