Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

This Is Our World

This Is Our World Omra Sian/Art World Conservation
04 Aug
A wildlife exhibition in central London is displaying huge artworks of endangered species in their natural habitats

An adult lioness, muscles visibly taut as she prepares to bound after a fleeing zebra. A mother and calf pairing of Rothchild’s giraffes, standing upon a bleak and stormy landscape. A great white shark, its entire body propelled out of the surface of the sea, as it pursues its prey – a doomed fur seal – in a great flurry of white foam and spray. An enormous African bull elephant, looking directly down at you, the texture of its wrinkled body displayed vividly against the dry and dusty savannah in which it roams. A family of gorillas, deep in the lush Virunga rainforest. A pair of rhinoceroses, their bodies intimately entwined with the surrounding environment, which protrudes out from the canvas towards you, almost begging to be felt.

‘Life-size’ doesn't always mean life-size. But when wildlife artist Omra Sian creates artwork, he aims high. His latest creations depict a series of endangered species in their natural habitats, recreated on vast acrylic canvases, some over six metres tall and seven metres wide.

The artworks comprise the latest venture by the Born Free Foundation, in collaboration with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Art World Conservation, to raise both funds and awareness of the various plights which all the animals on display are facing, from widespread poaching – particularly of elephants and rhinos for their ivory – to industrial shark finning, to the global habitat destruction which is wiping out lions, tigers, giraffe and many other species.

Artist Sian commented on the decade-long work which led to the exhibition:

‘I once read a quote that said “Life begins when you come out of your comfort zone”, so I made sure I stayed out of mine to create this collection. The collection makes people challenge the way they think about the natural world. It is the IMAX of wildlife art and the images painted are scientifically correct. It really was a labour of love!

‘To create canvases on this scale required me to climb up and down scaffolding up to 40 times a day, or paint whilst lying on the floor for hours at a time, so each piece really does represent a huge amount of physical and mental dedication, as well as investment of time. The event will inspire, educate and inform visitors – young and old – about the world we live in; the creatures and habitats we share it with and why they are so important to conserve. Often the simplest of changes by many people can make an enormous difference and this event is about inspiring those changes.’

This is Our World is at the Royal Horticultural Halls until 25 August, open daily 10am-8pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit artworldconservation.com

Geographical Week

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox every Friday.

Subscribe to Geographical!

University of Winchester


Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Winchester




Travel the Unknown


Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • The Human Game – Tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    Mexico City: boom town
    Twenty years ago, Mexico City was considered the ultimate urban disaster. But, recent political and economic reforms have transformed it into a hub of...
    When the wind blows
    With 1,200 wind turbines due to be built in the UK this year, Mark Rowe explores the continuing controversy surrounding wind power and discusses the e...
    The Nuclear Power Struggle
    The UK appears to be embracing nuclear, a huge U-turn on government policy from just two years ago. Yet this seems to be going against the grain globa...


NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in REVIEWS...


Four new galleries at Royal Museums Greenwich explore Britain’s maritime…


by John Foot • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)


by Deborah Baker • Chatto & Windus • £25 (hardback)


By Lucy Seigle • Trapexe • £12.99/£6.99 (hardback/eBook)


by Simon Lewis and Mark Maslin • Pelican • £8.99 (paperback)


by Christoph Baumer • IB Tauris • £30 (hardback)


by Charles Lane • River Books • £40 (hardback)


by Graham Hoyland• William Collins • £20 (hardback)


by Dr Lucy Jones• Doubleday Books • £19.99 (hardback)


by Daniel Pinchbeck• Watkins • £9.99 (paperback)


by Jasper Winn • Profile Books • £16.99 (hardback)


by Nathan H Lents • Weidenfeld & Nicolson • £16.99…


This hard-hitting marine conservation film – part of the Ocean…


Here are the newest non-fiction offerings to satisfy that craving…


The Society’s Earth Photo exhibition captures the planet’s natural riches…


by Alanna Mitchell • Oneworld • £16.99 (hardback)


by Christopher J Preston • The MIT Press • £20.95…


by Jamal Mahjoub • Bloomsbury • £25 (hardback)


by Joanna Kafarowski • Dundurn Press • 15.99 (hardback)


by Peter Dauvergne • Polity Books • £9.99 (paperback)