In a unique combination of artist and author, Krakowiak’s book animates the wildlife of Africa, the pages of his illustrations in stark relief to the black and white text. Though fascinating, images complement the text, equally filled with surprises, one man’s anecdotal journey to a mythological place where elephants and lions roam - at least for the present.
In a compilation of sketches, paintings and stories, striking artwork depicts the color, texture, energy and stunning beauty of the wilds of Africa. In the accompanying text, we find a valuable memoir, the prose accented by the powerful beasts who so define the Dark Continent: the lion, the cheetah, and the elephant who inhabit this vast land.
Game reserves protect nearby larger-than-life animals who inhabit their home with authority: “The endless cycle of life and death is everywhere repeated.” Truly the last frontier, this wilderness stretches from the “Cape of Good Hope in the south to the Mediterranean in the north,” the “world’s largest desert… and its most extensive rain forest.”
Magnificent and noble creatures have roamed the earth with impunity for centuries, often depicted by artists as all-powerful, indestructible, to be conquered by man’s intelligence and cunning; but years of devastation, plunder and poaching have trampled the future existence of these great beasts no longer assured of a place on the earth. For this reason, such energetic images of Africa’s grandeur become more than a pleasant entertainment or a great adventure for the artist.
Krakowiak has created this book for a purpose. Most obviously, he encourages other artists, by devoting chapters to the specifics of making art in the wild, the necessary implements for success: brushes, paints, a camera, and a journal for sketches and ideas.
More importantly, the artist/author reminds us that such majesty may be only temporary, the species threatened by extinction, especially at the hands of poachers who perpetrate the greatest travesty against nature, irrevocable and tragic for the future of the continent.
Krakowiak explores this unique experience of artist versus nature, a man who sees beauty all around him, the power, grace and temperament of Africa and its denizens, his creative energy infused with the colors, sights and sounds of a country at its grandest.
Both in image and text, Krakowiak has mastered his own perspective, the pictures a powerful testament to the subjects of his interest. It is these images and these words that we must heed, should the future and our own carelessness lead to the demise of the grand creatures who so magnificently inhabit one of the last truly wild places on earth.