Harambe Memorial Portrait 2017 by Meredith London-Orgiefsky. All Rights Reserved.
There comes a time in the evolution of a species that it needs to reflect internally and ask, under what circumstances of co-existence is one species entitled it keep, use and breed another species in captivity? Harambe, a 17-year-old Silverback, was born and bred in captivity only to have his life cut short by when an unsupervised child fell into his zoo enclosure. He was shot to death by zoo personnel to prevent him from harming the child.
The question now becomes are zoos even necessary? Responsible sanctuaries and wildlife preserves now strive to mimic natural habitat while attempting to keep wildlife safe from the destruction of their natural habitat, poachers and other human predators.
In this piece, I wanted to capture the vulnerability of this magnificent animal. In the reference photo for this work (cred.: Jason Miklacic in June 2011 - Flickr), I see helplessness in Harambe’s eyes.