This painting represents coexistence between the African lion and warrior tribes of East Africa. The Maasai and Samburu people have a long history of conflict with lions. To kill a lion has been a matter of pride and protection. But, with a growing population of humans and a dwindling population of lions, a shift toward coexistence has begun. The Maasai and Samburu people, through the efforts of organizations like Lion Guardians and Warrior Watch, have effectively changed lion killers into lion protectors.
The lion in this painting becomes one with the tribe. He wears the ornate beadwork and holds a beaded gourd used to drink milk from the tribe’s cattle. He’s surrounded by artifacts and wildlife of the region. The lion places his paw over a spear once used to kill his species. The spears are part of the people’s culture, but they will not be used to kill this Savanna Warrior or his family. As the sun sets, a dazzle of zebra gallop in the distance.
Finally, there are two colors that are found throughout this painting. Orange, according to Maasai culture, represents warmth, friendship, generosity and hospitality. Yellow represents the color of the sun, which gives life and fosters growth. Moving forward, lions and people must learn to coexist. This new relationship must grow. And with everyone’s help, this majestic warrior will thrive in the Savanna and across the continent of Africa for many years to come.
24″×36″ Acrylic on Board – Available at the Mary Martin Gallery in Charleston, South Carolina