Artists For Conservation – Simon Combes Award

We are proud to announce that Pollyanna has received the most prestigeous International Award in the field of Wildlife Art.

She was awarded the Artists for Conservation's Simon Combes Conservation award for 2012, recognizing her support for conservation through her artistic talents during the Artists for Conservation Festival Gala in front of a VIP crowd on October 12th, 2012 in Canada. However a dramatic mountain fire nearly stopped Pollyanna from receiving one of the highest honours of her career!

Pollyanna travelled to Vancouver to receive the award at a VIP gala dinner. The glittering event was held in a luxury chalet high on Grouse Mountain, accessible only by cable car. However minutes before the award ceremony commenced, the organisers were warned that a wildfire had started on the mountain slopes, and that they should stand by to arrange evacuation of the invited guests - including the Mayor of Vancouver, Canadian television stars and many of world’s top wildlife artists. Fortunately the fire was brought under control, and the event was able to go ahead – with Pollyanna only learning of the close call the following day!

AFC's Simon Combes Conservation Award is the most prestigious award and highest honour AFC presents to a member artist who has shown artistic excellence and extraordinary contributions to the conservation cause, exemplifying the same qualities as the award's namesake.

A prominent member of AFC, Simon Combes was Project Director of the Kenya chapter of the Rhino Rescue Trust, an organization founded in 1985 to protect endangered species from being poached, and to help the communities surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park affected by wildlife conflicts. On December 12th, 2004, Simon was tragically killed by a charging Cape buffalo while hiking near his home in Kenya. Simon was widely respected as a man of superb artistic talent, as a brilliant communicator, writer, instructor, world-traveler, and as a steward of our planet, and this annual work commemorates his dedication to both art and conservation.

AFC President and Founder, Jeff Whiting explains: "We are very proud to honor Pollyanna for her long-term dedication and contributions to conservation causes around the world. Pollyanna has shown extraordinary leadership in giving back to the subjects she depicts so passionately in her paintings." Pollyanna joins a who's-who roster of international recipients chosen for their artistic excellence and lifetime of extraordinary support of conservation, including David Shepherd, Robert Bateman, John Banovich, Robert Glen, Sue Stolberger and Dr. Guy Harvey.

"I am most honoured to receive this prestigious award from the AFC. I think it is wonderful that the AFC formally recognises the unique and valuable role which wildlife art plays in the world of conservation. I believe that I have been very fortunate to able to use my artwork to both fundraise for and raise awareness of the plight of endangered species around the world, and I feel humbled to be given this award for following my passion and vocation." says Pollyanna.

During the AFC Festival Pollyanna also gave two keynote lectures, and presented her first ever artist's workshop! She also appeared on Canadian Breakfast Television to chat about her award, and the work of the AFC.

Pollyanna is passionate about the well-being of the wildlife she paints as much as she is about accurately interpreting her subjects. She is a tireless campaigner for the welfare of endangered, sick and vulnerable creatures. For fifteen years Pollyanna ran her own wildlife sanctuary, 'Brookvale Bird Rescue' - funded entirely by her painting. Also she is the Founder of the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation which raises funds for the protection and rescue of wildlife, endangered species and the environment as well as emergency disaster relief.

In March 2007, Pollyanna Pickering was the recipient of AFC Flag Expedition grant and became the first western artist to comprehensively document Bhutan's wildlife and habitat in a series of paintings. The journey served to support the conservation of the rare and unique flora and fauna of the remote Himalayan country.

The award's trophy design, the result of a competition among AFC members, was created by Peter Gray of South Africa. Depicting two wildebeest emerging from a mass and fragmenting slightly to indicate the fragility of our efforts to sustain the wilderness areas and the disappearing herds, the trophy is sculpted in clay and founded bronze with personalized inscription.

Learn more about the Simon Combes Conservation Award and past winners.

Above: Pollyanna with her Bronze trophy

Above: Pollyanna receives her award from Simon Combes' widow Kat (left) and AFC President Jeff Whiting (right)