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Margaret Ingles

AFC Conservation Artist of the Month for July, 2011

Conservation of the natural world has been a priority for the Australian artist, Margaret Ingles. She is action oriented. In 2008, she attended at her own expense, the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona Spain and participated in many working groups. Then in 2009, she was involved in the production of a 20 minute documentary film on the amphibian extinction crisis and the required response. She narrated the film and provided original images. She helped document the results of a post-tsunami ecosystem restoration project on the Andaman Coast in Southern Thailand, recently visited the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia and took photos of mangrove biodiversity and management activities which have been used in the production of a policy brief for senior decision-makers in Cambodia regarding protected area zoning policy and practice.

Margaret tells her story with feeling:

"It all started with a frog on a doorknob!

Actually, it started a few days before that, at a workshop where I was introduced to Zen master Matsuo Basho's famous haiku about an old pond and a frog. For Basho, when the mind was stilled of all chatter, anything - even the jumping of a frog - could provide a portal for realization and enlightenment!

Until recently, I lived in an old wooden house that rises out of a pond in the heart of Bangkok. The house and pond are surrounded by an overgrown garden which in turn is surrounded by a forest of lofty, concrete apartment blocks.

The pond is home to a variety of turtles and fish, including a 100 year old wattle-necked soft-shelled turtle called Thor. The garden is a haven for a great diversity of wildlife too, including frogs, toads, squirrels, lizards and many types of birds. There are also regular visitations from Burmese pythons which arrive in the early hours of the morning to feast on rats and fish and the occasional neighbourhood cat.

One evening on my way to the outside kitchen to prepare dinner, with haikus and frogs on the brain, I spotted him - a plump, golden tree frog perched on the kitchen door. He continued to sit there, while I photographed him, looking calm and wise and unperturbed.

My muse, this tree frog, unwittingly spawned not only "Basho's Frog" and indeed a whole new series for me, but also a collaborative project using art to bring together conservationists, corporations and art lovers in order to raise awareness about, and funds for, the world's amphibian extinction crisis.

Since becoming aware of the amphibian extinction crisis the focus of most of her nature-based art has been frogs. She combines traditional oil techniques with a contemporary - and sometimes pop art - spin, in her paintings. "I love to push the colour and the lighting, and of course the subject matter. The reason I choose to depict my frogs in human settings is that it not only allows my imagination free reign, but it also symbolises the direct connection between them; man as both the source of the problem and, ultimately, the solution."

Margaret is Australian but has lived in Asia for two decades (Nepal, Laos and Thailand) and has travelled widely. In May she relocated to Brisbane, Australia and will stay there for a year. Being married to a conservation scientist, she has had many other opportunities as well to experience a diversity of landscapes, habitats, species and cultural groups. This has allowed her to indulge her other great interest - photography. Her photos often provide the inspiration and starting points for many of her paintings. She is primarily an oil on canvas artist and enjoys painting a range of subject matter.

Margaret is a member of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and has participated in their Wildlife Artist of the Year exhibition for the last few years. She is also a member of the Australian Guild of Realist Artists, the International Guild of Realist Artists, and the Queensland Wildlife Artists Society Inc.

Visit Margaret's Website

Previous Conservation Artists of the Month

(October, 2017)
(September, 2017)
(August, 2017)
(July, 2017)
(June, 2017)
(May, 2017)
(April, 2017)
(March, 2017)
(February, 2017)
(January, 2017)
(December, 2016)
(November, 2016)
(October, 2016)
(September, 2016)
(August, 2016)
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