Whaling was one of Australia's first primary industries, starting in the late 1700’s and continuing until 1979 when whaling was eventually banned. Blue whales, right whales, humpback whales and sperm whales were hunted off the east, west and southern Australian coastline for oil and to make animal feed.

 

Humpbacks migrating along the east coast of Australia were hunted voraciously during the 1950’s and by the mid 1960's the east coast population was down to only 200 animals. This incredible creature had almost been hunted out of existence off our shores. In 1963, concerned with the disappearance of the whales, the International Whaling Commission banned humpback whaling in the southern hemisphere. We are very fortunate that since that time the population has increased back to a healthy size of around 20,000. Now a whole other industry has been built around the whale migration - tourism! It's one I've participated in many times.

 

I painted 200 whales over the course of 2016 to illustrate how precariously low the east coast humpback population became. The project was predominantly inspired by the story of the humpbacks, however I painted all kinds of whale species for variety and in order to learn more about other cetaceans.The humpback story is important because it illustrates how essential concerted global efforts are in species protection and conservation. Whaling protection and the story of its implementation should inspire efforts accross other threatened and endangered species and also in areas where native wildlife populations have become precariously low.

 

At the completion of the project each whale was sold and 50% of the sale price of all sold paintings was donated to Project Orca, a Western Australian orca research project.

200
199
198
197
196
195
194
193
192
191
190
189
188
187
186
185
184
183
182
181
180
179
178
177
176
175
174
173
172
171
170
169
168
167
166
165
164
163
162
161
160
159
158
157
156
155
154
153
152
151
150
149
148
147
146
145
144
143
142
141
140
139
138
137
136
135
134
133
132
131
130
129
128
120
126
125
124
123
122
121
120
119
118
117
116
115
114
113
112
111
110
109
108
107
106
105
104
103
102
101
100
99
98
97
96
95
94
93
92
91
90
89
88
87
86
85
84
83
82
81
80
79
78
77
76
75
74
73
72
71
70
69
68
67
66
65
64
63
62
61
60
59
58
57
56
55
54
53
52
51
50
49
48
47
46
45
44
43
42
41
40
39
38
37
36
35
34
33
32
31
30
29
28
27
26
25
24
23
22
21
20
19
18
17
16
15
14
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1