Bobbie Crane’s art has found itself on a billboard by the side of a South African highway.
The South Cariboo wildlife acrylic painter is one of 800 artists from around the world who had their art selected for Blood Lions’ #800Lions Campaign. Blood Lions is a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about and stopping the raising of lions in South Africa for slaughter. The campaign called upon artists from all over the world to submit artwork to be used on billboards to raise awareness of the 200 farms reported to hold up to 8,000 predators in captivity for trophy hunting.
Crane first became aware of Blood Lions back in 2019 while searching for lion photos online. She prefers using photo references when painting animals as she strives for realism in her artwork.
“I’d been wanting to paint a lion for quite a few years and never really had the chance to photograph one. I was looking for photographs of lions I could use without copyright issues, and Blood Lions’ website came up,” said Crane, who has been a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists for 30 years. “I started looking at it and thought this was an interesting, almost disgusting, thing happening to the lions. Who would have thought they actually had compounds where they’re breeding lions for this?”
After doing further research into the organization, Crane eventually found a nice picture of a lioness and used it for a painting which she later sold around Christmas. She describes her painting as depicting a lioness laying on the ground with “mother’s love of all lions in her eyes.”
In November, Crane, who had been monitoring the non-profit’s social media, noticed the campaign’s worldwide call for 800 voices for 800 lions and decided to submit a photograph of her finished piece.
There were 1,300 submissions of art from around the world ranging from paintings, photographs, poetry and videos, she said. Crane’s art will be included along with 800 other submissions in one of 13 billboards scattered across South Africa’s major highways.
“I’m pretty humbled actually. When I submitted I really didn’t think about the ramifications of where that was going to go; that it was going to end up being international and a worthy cause of awareness,” Crane said. “The (other) submissions were just amazing, a lot of beautiful artwork a lot of beautiful photography. Even the children’s artwork was very well done.”
Crane is proud to be doing her part to raise awareness about trophy hunting and the fact 800 lion skeletons are sold a year while their meat is canned. She supports Blood Lions’ efforts in trying to stop that from happening, Crane said. She hopes to pain more lions in the future, especially a male lion with a big mane and roar.
Anyone interested in learning more or donating to the cause is encouraged to visit bloodlions.org.