Artwork #17


Grace Musser

Specimen 1

Oil and mixed media on linen, 2012

This piece depicts Mt. Mikeno, a dormant volcano located in Africa’s Democratic Republic of the Congo. Carl Akeley, a taxidermist for the American Museum of Natural History in NYC during the early 1900s, repeatedly ventured here to collect the critically endangered mountain gorillas that inhabit its slopes. The gorillas inspired him to urge King Albert I of Belgium to create Albert National Park in 1925, which became Virunga. He eventually died here in 1926, when he succumbed to Ebola and was buried here. Today, Virunga continues to be a beautiful but deadly battleground for conservation biology and indigenous peoples.