Passport to Creativity: Rachelle Tan Captures Conservation in Kenya

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We gave six talented young artists a Passport to Creativity, and sent them to three of the most remote, protected places on Earth. They captured the sights, sounds and impressions of their destinations. Along the way, they documented the impact of climate change and the struggle of conservation, and explored how creativity might help save the planet.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15 – 21) and get ready for Earth Day (April 22), than to feature the work of these students. Today we’re turning our attention to the stunning illustrations, video and photos of Rachelle Tan. Rachelle studies graphic design at Central Saint Martins in London and harbors a not-so-secret passion for adventure. This spring, she woke to Kenyan sunrises and spent her days exploring the Maasai Mara.

What was your first reaction when you arrived to your shoot location in Kenya?

Rachelle: I was so taken aback by the vastness of the lands, the colors of the environment and the animals who inhabit the place. I have been to some of the most beautiful places in the world, but this was definitely a new experience and I was so honored to be able to experience it.

The Passport to Creativity participants were chosen for their unique style. How did you bring your signature style to this project?

Rachelle: I often enjoy mixing mediums to create a design style that has never been seen before and while on the trip I began to experiment a lot with digital manipulations and photography.

While you were on location, how did the environment shape your work? Did you try anything new?

Rachelle: While venturing through the Maasai Mara, I was inspired by how so many factors exist in such a careful balance. This inspired me to create my Mandala Series. I wanted to reflect how the animals, the environment and the community coexist in a way that supports this continuous cycle.

What did you most want to communicate about the place and the experience?

Rachelle: Overall I want to communicate the importance and the significance of preserving the environment, the animal population and society as a whole. We often hear stories like these but feel as though we as individuals are powerless in changing the way society behaves. But actually, the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

Was there any creative technology that you wished you’d had while you were traveling? It’s okay if it’s something that hasn’t been invented yet!

Rachelle: While on game drives we would constantly have to choose between two separate events: do we see a male lion come out of the bushes or watch a hunt; do we wait for the hippos to play or go catch the colors of the sunset? If we had a device that captured everything including the sounds, the sights, the smells while on our journey through the park, it would be so amazing to look back and re-experience everything down to the taste of the air.

Will this experience impact your next creative project? Do you have any new ideas brewing that you can share with us?

Rachelle: I have always been concerned and passionate about the environment and being able to learn about and shine light on conservation in Kenya is such a privilege. Having gone on this trip I definitely want to generate a whole series of projects to educate people about the importance of conservation in the world today.

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