By Marc Alexander from his ‘In The Balance‘ series. ‘Darwin’s Delusion’, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 100cm by 100cm, (2014).
Originally painted for the provocative group exhibition “Skulduggery,” presented by the Studio Gallery, Kalk Bay in September 2014. “Skulduggery”, which broadly refers to underhandedness or deception particularly when referring to politics. A fitting theme when we consider the current political antics in South Africa. But wanting to steer away from politically charged art, I opted for another current deception, that of Macro Evolution. Here the chimp stares intently at you the viewer while holding a human skull, perhaps contemplating the seven million years it took evolution to magically transform ape to man. My tongue in cheek title is a play on evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion.”
I’ve included this painting with my “In The Balance’ series of endangered wildlife animal studies, as it is the only Chimpanzee painting I’ve done to date and the chimpanzee is listed on the IUCN Red List as an endangered species. Between 170,000 and 300,000 individuals are estimated across its range. The biggest threats to the chimpanzee are habitat loss, poaching, and disease.