WWF is the world’s leading independent conservation organisation, whose mission is to create a world where people and wildlife can thrive together. To mark the launch of WWF’s Picture England exhibition, Newbury MP Richard Benyon attended a private view in the House of Commons last Thursday.
Over the last few months, WWF have teamed up with a professional landscape artist, Jane Skingley – from Newbury – and a production team to find out what people love about their local area and how they are responding to protect it against climate change. The exhibition captures these stories through painting, photography and children’s artwork, including five unique pieces of Jane’s art that reflect the importance and beauty of our British landscapes.
It is hoped that MPs and constituents can come together at the exhibition and discuss the message that each piece represents to them and what the UK government can do to ensure the things we value the most about England are conserved and restored for generations to come.
Jane attended the WWF reception in the Houses of Parliament last week, where she spoke publically to those gathered.
“When I was asked by the WWF to work on this project, the first thing I did was to take a look at how other artists had tackled the subject of climate change. I found images of chimneys belching out black smoke, polar bears perched on shrinking icebergs and cracked and parched landscapes. These images, while hard-hitting and thought-provoking, can seem distant to people’s lives and be a turn-off.
“I wanted my paintings to show the stunning beauty of the South of England in all its summer glory. A beauty which must be preserved for all to enjoy. But behind this beauty there are stories of ecosystems in the balance.
“You can see the beautiful vineyard in Hampshire suffering from late frosts and dramatic weather events. Salisbury Cathedral in the mist, which is built on water meadows that are under threat of flooding and drought. The Southern Damsel Fly, which can only exist in very specific water meadow habitats that are in danger.
“I hope my interpretations of our beautiful landscape provide food for thought.”