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Original fine art paintings by Caryl Jean Westergren


Caryl Westergren; We; 2012; Acrylic on canvas, resin, acrylic varnish; size  24"x36".

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We; An Orangutan Mother and Baby

Orangutans are very large apes; yet they are uncharacteristically quiet, gentle, and kind. At one glance, it is easy to be scared of them. They’ve got large eyes, a small nose, and a very big mouth. Their bodies are hairy and their arms can span a couple of meters wide. 

From the outside, orangutans are just another kind of monkeys. Some may even say that they are the king of the apes. But deep within, they are doting creatures as well. They care for their young as much as many other animals do. As a matter of fact, they are the creatures closest to humans when it comes to form and intelligence. That is the main reason why many scientists stand by the theories of evolution.

If anybody were to just stop by and look, they will discover that orangutans are like people in a few ways. If we live in the cities, these creatures reside in the deep, dark forests. The tree is their abode and its large, strong vines are their highways. When you think about it, the fact that they live in a simple and uncomplicated world works to their advantage.

In this very moving painting by Caryl Jean Westergren, two orangutans were depicted prominently. One of them is full grown while the other is clearly a baby. Both of them are smiling, as if they are making a pose for the camera. If they could speak, they would certainly ask for a few more shots.

This mother-and-child depiction of the orangutan painting is Westergren’s version of the Madonna and child of the wild. And she has captured its very essence very well. The mother and child bond is clearly stressed in this painting, albeit in a rather undomesticated manner. This painting shows how orangutans are capable of motherly love. They are not regarded as the human’s closest kin for nothing. And for one second out there, a thought hit me. If we can learn to live in all simplicity like they do, will our world be a better place?

Written by Theresa Tumanda; 2013