Friday, November 28, 2014


This week my nature painting group painted the Babirusa. This remarkable curly tusked pig is found nowhere else in the world except in undisturbed rain forests of Sulawesi. Sulawesi is Indonesia's fourth largest island (175,000 km2). It is something of a "forgotten island" in that the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra receive much more attention from conservationists. However Sulawesi has an amazing diversity of totally unique species, of which the Babirusa is probably the most enigmatic.

The Babirusa is amazing in a number of ways. Firstly the tusks are the upper canine teeth, which in males grow upwards out of the snout and curl round towards the forehead. Further the Babirusa fight by rearing up on their hind legs and "dance" - it is quite amazing to see this in the wild apparently.

The unique Babirusa and the Nantu Forest are facing grave threats from destructive forest clearance and also illegal poaching for their meat. They face a real risk of extinction in the near future, given that their total world population is only about 5000 individuals, yet they are poorly known about worldwide. The Babirusa's tusks have in fact inspired artists from long ago, being featured in Balinese artwork.

I was actually inspired by these fascinating 40,000 year old babirusa cave paintings  to create my own!

Modern Cave Painting of a Babirusa, mixed media

I actually started the painting with two pigs' heads superimposed over each other with one upside down (hence the double set of tusks) and the image then morphed into a Babirusa hybrid. Here's my Modern Cave Painting of a Babirusa, mixed media (gesso, watercolor, alcohol ink, colored pencil, pastels).

Linking up with Paint Party Friday!

Happy Painting!