Art for Advocacy

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Mathias Horne (PATA Associate) donates artwork to PATA Headquarters to spark conversation on tourism and conservation. 

At PATA, we highly value our associates and are often inspired by their passion for sustainability. To conclude his time working in our membership department, our very talented intern, Mathias Horne, has created and donated one of his art pieces to our Sustainability department. Mathias is a 22 year-old Canadian artist from Vancouver, British Columbia who is passionate about using art for advocacy in the conservation of wildlife around the world. His artwork is as much activism as it is art, showing viewers both the beauty and the crisis of endangerment of different species and their changing habitats through striking portraiture. The painting Mathias donated to PATA titled “guardianship” depicts a family of Asian elephants painted in shades of black and white. Donating this painting to PATA, Mathias hopes that the piece sparks conversation around the complexities of tourism and conservation.

Asian elephants are a controversial subject in the tourism industry as there are many different opinions on how tourists should interact with elephant populations. PATA’s CEO, Mario has said that, “Elephant camps are a popular tourism attraction here in Thailand that has been heavily criticised. There needs to be a process of evaluation, standardisation and certification to ensure the well-being of the elephants. In Southeast Asia, there is a long history of domesticated elephants living alongside humans, which is why the conversation ought to also include local communities who rely on elephant tourism for their livelihoods.” A bigger discussion on the issue of elephant tourism is scheduled to take place at the World Travel Market in London on November 6. It will feature voices from conservation groups, Thai tourism authorities and local camp operators. 

Mathias has found that art is a creative way to start conversations on the issues of wildlife conservation. In addition to the piece he donated to PATA, Mathias is also donating his piece entitled, “young and naive” to the Grizzly Bear Foundation’s Night of Grizzly, a charitable auction taking place this weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is part of Mathias’ continued partnership with the Grizzly Bear Foundation which also includes his pledge to donate 20% of his new painting collection proceeds to support the organization’s conservation efforts. 

He told us the event will feature special guests such as: environmental advocate David Suzuki, The Grizzly Bear Foundation’s founder Micheal Audain, and Canadian band Hey Ocean. All proceeds from the event will go towards various projects in research, conservation, and education. Due to Mathias’ current engagement at PATA, he will not be able to attend the event. However, he will be represented by Quest University’s Interim Chief Academic Officer and Arts and Humanities Tutor, Jamie Kemp and Director of Marketing and Communications, Jasmine Aimaq. 

We are excited to see where Mathias’ art will take him and hope to hear more about his unique efforts to fundraise and spread awareness about wildlife conservation for non-profits like PATA and the Grizzly Bear Foundation. We wish him the best of success as his work continues to inspire important conversations around the world. 

If you would like to learn more about Mathias, check out his new website —Mathias Horne 

Co-authored by Mathias Horne and Ivory Vogt