(See map below)
About the Artist
As an artist and creative storyteller, each piece of art that Tara creates holds its own story and inspiration, often influenced by her conservation-focused investigative work with National Geographic. Tara pairs her artwork and storytelling in a unique combination; an unexpected tool for conservation education and is working towards future projects exploring our human connection to wildlife crises around the world, and inspiring others to think critically and creatively from an empathetic, solutions and impact-oriented human lens. The three ranger portraits in her portfolio are exemplary of Tara's artistic process. In 2019, Tara was awarded a National Geographic Storytelling Grant earning her the title of National Geographic Explorer, opening the door to a two-year NGS-funded project investigating rhino poaching in South Africa. By combining storytelling, investigative journalism, artwork, and maps, the final NGS grant project allows readers worlds away to understand Kruger National Park's rhino poaching crisis from a unique and important human perspective through the amplified voices of local rangers and individuals living alongside rhino and experiencing the challenges and effects of the illicit trade in rhino horn first hand. Tara created this portrait series of three rangers to help people immerse themselves in the shoes of these three individuals to experience life as a ranger and to better understand the pressures they face, especially in the current poaching climate where syndicates are actively recruiting from within the ranger corps. The individual faces portrayed in this portrait series are drawn and painted from in-the-field sketches in a manner to protect the identity and anonymity of participants, and the intricate designs used to create their form are inspired by their unique stories. Their stories through both art and written word for a brief moment become the life of the viewer for an impactful moment of reflection and realization. In her wildlife-focused art, Tara utilizes the same approach as intricate designs layered with watercolor to create the textured skin and folds of a rhinoceros or the flowing mane of a lion who faces human-wildlife conflict in the form of retaliation killings and poaching for the illicit trade. Every pen and brush stroke helps tell their story and inspires onlookers to dive in and understand the journey.