Relentless raised £55,000 for DKMS Big Love Gala (Blood Cancer Research) at the Natural History Museum in London in November – a record print sale for us at charity auctions
Giving back and philanthropy are central to the culture and goals of DYP and I am delighted to say that as a result of various auctions of limited edition prints in London, New York and Miami in recent weeks, the total sum raised in 2017 now exceeds £1m. This is up over 100% from last year. As the value of my work has risen, the job of the auctioneer becomes – at the margin – slightly easier. But nevertheless, I owe a considerable debt to great auctioneers like Harry Dalmeny – Chairman of Sotheby’s – who flatter me with their eloquent and passionate articulation of my work. In the second half of the year, the average selling price for my work in a charity auction has risen to £41,000 for a single image.
The chart below details the breakdown of the distribution of this £1m. As with 2016, the majority of the proceeds will be routed directly to Conservation NGOs, animal welfare bodies or biodiversity initiatives. I am first and foremost a conservationist and, given my position now in the marketplace, I have an even greater responsibility to raise awareness and raise money to help endangered species in Africa and elsewhere.
The elephant and the lion in particular have been good to me over the years and I can’t imagine Sub Saharan Africa without them. The African lion is under huge pressure now as a result of habitat loss and my visit to South Africa last week gave me the sad confirmation that total lion numbers in Africa are now certainly under 18,000 – a fall of over 90% in the last 100 years.
I thank each and every one of the successful bidders throughout the year. They are the real stars. Nothing in Africa can change without money and – at the margin – the poaching situation is improving but the numbers remain very troubling and those that care must continue to help build awareness and funding.
Next year the monies raised from my work will hopefully rise again and my team in London will carefully evaluate all propositions. As an ambassador for WildArk and a member of the Tusk Advisory Board, these two organisations will be the central beneficiaries of our fund raising. But we are always looking to collaborate with smart, emotionally engaged bodies who share our understanding on working together on a long term basis. We are less attracted to one off windfalls with no follow through.
As we all know, social media is a double-edged sword and high followings attract the good and the bad in terms of commentary and animal activists can be quite active on the computer. In 2017, my work has raised over £270,000 for health research – ovarian and blood cancer and multiple sclerosis. But we would like to make it emphatically clear that this has not eaten into the sum raised for conservation, it has simply been supplementary to it. So if we sell a picture of a wild animal for the bene t of cancer research, that is my personal decision to donate, it does not reduce the nal sum that is going back into ecosystems in East Africa or elsewhere. People may not have the soul, grace and wisdom of animals and we have been poor tenants of this planet but people remain more important than animals. Look around you over the next two weeks.