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African art exhibition stresses wildlife conservation and beauty

Bringing cultures together, artist Marian Osher (left) and H.E. Liberata Mulamula, ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania (right), share a handshake at the reception for Jambo, Tanzania.
Bringing cultures together, artist Marian Osher (left) and H.E. Liberata Mulamula, ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania (right), share a handshake at the reception for Jambo, Tanzania.
Steve Raphael

Silver Spring, Md. --- H.E. Liberata Mulamula, ambassador of the United Republic of Tanzania and Mrs. Immaculata Diyamett, senior tourism officer, were among 70 people who attended an artist’s talk and opening reception for Jambo, Tanzania, a new art exhibition by Marian Osher at the Washington Printmakers Gallery. The exhibition highlights African wildlife conservation and its beauty.

Hungry Giraffe © 2014 Marian Osher
Hungry Giraffe © 2014 Marian Osher

Osher is a Maryland painter and printmaker with a strong commitment to environmental and wildlife issues. “I believe that art can help to bring cultures together, promote understanding and mutual appreciation, and raise awareness,” Osher says.

"I thank you for bringing Tanzanian wildlife to Washington Printmakers Gallery," H.E. Mulamula told Osher.

Last summer, Osher said she and her husband realized a dream. “We went to Tanzania. Our Jeep and hiking safari, guided by a Masai tribesman, took us to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti wildlife conservation areas. We experienced the thrill of seeing wildlife, as they are meant to be. We also learned through the excellent education programs in these parks about the challenges that have threatened the survival of African wildlife.”

During the opening reception, Osher presented the ambassador with a framed print of a lioness for the Tanzanian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Other visitors attending the exhibition included representatives from the African Wildlife Foundation. “Clearly Marian’s safari experience in Tanzania and seeing the beauty and diversity of Africa’s wildlife made a lasting impression on her,” says Marie Frei of the African Wildlife Foundation.

“Her personal concern about the future of the animals she depicted in her prints is a concern we all share, and it’s what drives the African Wildlife Foundation's conservation work,” Frei states. “Art is a wonderful medium through which we can spread awareness and open up a dialogue about poaching, habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict and other threats to the continent’s wildlife.”

“One reason we chose to go to Tanzania,” Osher said, “was because wildlife is protected there. Hunting is not permitted in the conservation parks of Tanzania, although there is regulated hunting in some other preserves in Tanzania. In the conservation parks, wildlife is shot with a camera, not with a gun. The conservation areas are structured to allow the Masai to coexist with room to graze their cattle. So it is a win-win situation for the wildlife and the people. There is much to be learned from the people of Tanzania about how wildlife and people can live in harmony.”

Osher said the Tanzanian people she met were warm and friendly and eager to talk. They shared their culture with her. “After we returned, I felt so inspired by both the people and the wildlife that I decided to create an exhibition of artwork to celebrate Tanzanian wildlife. It is an unforgettable and life-changing experience to see glimpses of wildlife in a natural habitat with whole families and tribes of these magnificent animals.”

The result of her journey was the exhibition Jambo, Tanzania, which Osher says invites viewers to share moments in the daily lives of Tanzanian wildlife that she experienced. She has created more than 50 colorful monotypes that she says present an "alphabet" of Tanzanian wildlife – birds, baboons, cape buffalo, a cheetah, dikdiks, elephants, giraffes, grants gazelles, hartebeests, hippopotamuses, impalas, lions, leopards, a lizard, monkeys, ostriches, a rhinoceros, Thomson's gazelles, wildebeests, warthogs and zebras.

"Marian's Jambo, Tanzania marvelously presents a tremendous variety of Tanzanian wildlife in their natural environment," says Alysia Thaxton, gallery director. "The prints vibrantly capture the rich golden colors of the Serengeti and the portraits she's included of individual animals convey a rare and elusive intimacy that one can't get from a visit to the zoo. Jambo, Tanzania wonderfully captures the daily life of these magnificent animals in their native home," Thaxton adds.

“I see Jambo, Tanzania as an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preserving environments where it is still possible for wildlife to live together, naturally wild and free,” Osher said. “I hope this exhibition will also highlight the important role that Tanzania plays in protecting wildlife habitat, not only for Tanzania, but for the world to cherish.”

The exhibition runs through May 25 which will include a closing reception between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on that day. The gallery is open Wednesday through Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and Friday from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The Washington Printmakers Gallery is located at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 2nd Floor, 8230 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, Maryland or call 391-273-3660.