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AFC Flag Expedition #4:
The Flora & Fauna of Bhutan - An Artist's Journey through the Land of the Thunderdragon
Expedition Artist: Pollyanna Pickering
Purpose: To highlight the natural history of Bhutan, and to stress the importance of conserving the ecology of the region.
Location: Bhutan
Scheduled For: March 28 - April 29, 2007
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OVERVIEW
Bhutan is known to its inhabitants as 'The land of the Thunder dragon'. Located in the Himalayas, bordered by Tibet, Nepal and India virtually the entire country is mountainous. Thanks to its remoteness, political isolationism, small population, and difficult terrain, Bhutan has emerged into the 20th century with the majority of its forested lands and unique ecosystem intact. Now, with an increasing population, improved roads, and limited farming land, a major effort is needed to protect this virtually unspoilt mountain kingdom.
 
On her Flag Expedition, Pollyanna will visit several of the Bhutan's nature reserves, where she will sketch in the field, creating a record of the diverse habitats, and of course the wildlife which inhabits the region. On her return to her studio she will complete 50 pieces of original work for a major exhibition, followed by lecture tours and gallery shows. These will highlight the natural history of a Kingdom about which remarkably little is known in the west, and stress the importance of conserving the ecology of the region.
 
A book about the expedition is planned, showcasing her the artwork generated and documenting Pollyanna's journey through a detailed travelogue, aim to educate the reader about the ecology, culture and conservation issues.

Pollyanna has been invited to submit details of her proposed journey to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Bhutan, with a view to using her journey and the subsequent exhibitions to strengthen relations between Bhutan and the UK. Pollyanna also intends to use this privileged contact to stress the importance of ongoing conservation in the Himalayan Kingdom directly with the Bhutanese royal family.

Pollyanna will work through her charitable foundation to raise funds for conservation work in Bhutan. A percentage of all sales from the exhibition resulting from this journey will be donated, along with the proceeds from a commemorative limited edition print. Money will also be raised through the lecture tour, and one piece of original work will be donated as the first prize in a grand draw.

EXPEDITION OBJECTIVES
  • Complete field sketches and gather reference material of habitat and wildlife during expedition to Nature Reserves in Bhutan.
  • Complete 50 original works featuring endangered species, creating a unique and permanent record of this exceptional habitat at the start of the 21st century.
  • Develop a major exhibition of resulting artwork for display in multiple venues throughout the UK and Europe.
  • Launch of commemorative limited edition print.
  • Develop a Lecture Tour to inform about the unique ecosystem and conservation issues in Bhutan.
  • Cement and improve relations between Bhutan and the UK.
  • Recognise and encourage the ongoing conservation work within the country through dialogue with the Crown Prince of Bhutan.
  • Raise funds through the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation to aid the conservation and protection of the wildlife in Bhutan.
  • Generate exhibitions and shows in other galleries throughout UK and Europe
  • Publish a book about expedition. 

BACKGROUND
Bhutan jealously guards its lifestyle and ancient traditions. To the best of our knowledge, Pollyanna will be the first western artist to comprehensively document the wildlife and habitat in a series of paintings.

A total of 26% of the country is within protected areas – either wildlife sanctuaries or national parks, providing habitat for the many endangered species found in Bhutan. Large areas remain virtually unexplored. Even the protected areas have not yet been fully studied, and the indigenous species not as yet been comprehensively catalogued.

In addition to visiting the Royal Manas National Park, the Jigme Dorji National Park, and the Black Mountain National park, Pollyanna would aim to travel to the Sakteng Wildife Sanctuary. This reserve is unique, because it is the only sanctuary in the world created specifically to protect the habitat of the yeti! The Bhutanese name for the yeti is ‘Migoi' and theese creatures are widely believed to exist throughout the northern part of the country.

Many village people in the region have stories of their sightings and meetings with Migoi. The sanctuary which has been formally set aside to protect the Migoi enviroment is also home to less mythical wildlife, including snow leopards, red pandas and black-necked cranes which may prove somewhat easier to sketch!

The Blue Poppy, Bhutan's national flower can also be found in this region. A monocarpic plant, it blooms only once before producing seeds and dying. Until a British botanist confirmed its existence in 1933, the blue poppy was also widely believed to be mythical - just like the yeti...

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