African Animal Pictures

African Animal Pictures Biography
Douglas Aja began sculpting and casting in bronze in the late 1990s, combining his lifelong interests in African wildlife and art. Though he is interested in all African wildlife, his favorite subject is the African elephant. Many of his elephant sculptures are of known individuals from Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. These elephants are the most celebrated wild elephants in the world, having been studied by Cynthia Moss and her research team (Amboseli Elephant Research Project) since 1972. These sculptures include the large bulls Dionysus, Bad Bull and Martyn, the old matriarch Slit Ear and one depicting a fight between Dionysus and another huge bull named Iain. He has also sculpted Echo. Echo is probably the best known wild elephant in the world; being featured in four BBC documentaries about her and her family: Echo of the Elephants; Echo of the Elephants, the Next Generation; Echo of the Elephants, the Final Chapter? and Echo: An Elephant to Remember as well as the book Echo of the Elephants. In addition she was in many other films, including the film about cinematographer Martyn Colbeck called An Eye for An Elephant. Since 2005 Doug has also been showing and selling photographs of African wildlife. He has been a longtime supporter of Amboseli Elephant Research Project as well as Joyce Poole's ElephantVoices. A portion of the sales proceeds are donated to these two organizations.

His bronze elephants are in the private collections of Cynthia Moss, Joyce Poole, Martyn Colbeck and the Bennington Center for the Arts. He is a signature member of Artists for Conservation and an associate member of Society of Animal Artists. Traveling to Africa for the first time in 1978, Doug took part in a wilderness education program with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). There he studied wilderness and mountaineering skills, outdoor leadership, minimum impact camping and Kenya's culture. He continues to visit East Africa regularly to take photos, gather reference material and to further his knowledge and understanding of his subjects. He often backpacks on Mount Kenya, through Maasailand and has climbed Kilimanjaro.

International Exhibitions and Awards:

National Sculpture Society:79th Annual Awards Exhibition 2012

Wildscape Magazine: Wildlife Artist of the Year 2011 for Mourning Erin
Wildlife Photography Competition 2011: Winner, Black & White Category: Portrait of Echo

Society of Animal Artists Annual Exhibition: Art And The Animal 2008, 2011

Artists for Conservation Annual Exhibition: The Art of Conservation 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
AFC 2009 Wildscape Award: Editor’s Choice Runner-up for Final Warning

Bennington Center for the Arts: Art of the Animal Kingdom 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Bennington Center for the Arts: Laumeister Fine Art Competition 2010, 2011
Honorable Mention 2010 for Locked In Battle

Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008: Semi-finalist for Portrait of Echo

Featured Wildlife Artist: "The HeART of Wildlife Defense" Bill Jordan Wildlife Defense Fund. Madison, Wisconsin, 2005

Group show: Holland & Holland Art Gallery, New York City, 2003

Wild Wings Art Festival: Minnesota 2003

Regional Exhibitions and Awards:

Helen Day Art Center, Annual Members Show: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

Southern Vermont Arts Center, National Fall Open Exhibition: 2006, 2007, 2008

Chaffee Center for the Visual Arts, Annual Members Show: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Connie Smith Memorial Award, 2003 for In His Prime. Merit Award, 2005 for Portrait of Echo
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