They inhabit many areas of Southern Africa and are a source of delight to children everywhere.
We know them as chameleons; those beloved little ‘Old World’ lizards with their prehensile tails, extensile tongues, protruding, rotating eyes and their highly developed ability to adapt to their environment by changing colour and becoming ‘works of art’.
A lady chameleon wears ‘her heart on her sleeve’, communicating her mood to other chameleons. When she is calm her colour might be green, if she is angry however, then red and yellow is her colour of choice as a warning for others to keep away.
Her male suitor will change from brown to purple and light blue, with his eyelids turning yellow with green spots.
An enraged chameleon turns black!
Legend tells us this ancient creature is regarded across Africa as a spirit animal, with some tribes fearing them as bad omens, others seeing them as the deliverers of an important message to humans from Unkululu, an African creator-God, of immortality in the spirit world after death.
More modern ‘works of art’ however, are produced by Hazel Wilks, a renowned Southern African artist (now living in the UK), who grew up fascinated by the natural world and spent much of her time drawing chameleons, frogs and other interesting beings.
Alongside working as a freelance botanical illustrator at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, Hazel has broadened her repertoire and now produces a wide range of artworks in a variety of media.
She specialises in bespoke pieces that focus on intricate details, one of these being her ‘Okavango Rhino’, which she created as a way of conveying the vital role that the rhinoceros plays in the African ecosystem, and to express a vision of hope for them for the future. (See her stunning pieces on her website )
All of her prints are produced using quality giclee, (a fine art digital printing process) with some being limited editions and thus priced accordingly.
***Yvette Hutton is another wonderfully talented artist, based in the UK***