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Robin Jones

Stealth Game

Oil and gold leaf on aluminum panel, Image: 30"h x 24"w, framed: 35.25"h x 29.25"w, Item No. 20679,

She is of the Borana tribe, who live in Northern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia, accompanied here by a Goliath Heron, the largest heron on the planet and found in sub-Saharan Africa.

The title of this painting comes from an article published by the Oakland Institute called ‘Stealth Game, “community” conservancies devastate land and lives in Northern Kenya’. The article focuses on the devastating impact that privatized, neocolonial wildlife conservation and safari tourism have had on Indigenous pastoral communities, specifically in Northern Kenya, including the Borana. 

Since its founding in 2004, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) has set up 43 "community" conservancies on over 42,000 square kilometers of land in Northern and Coastal Kenya – nearly 8 percent of the country's total land area. Although terms like “participatory,” “community driven,” and “local empowerment” are extensively used by NRT, this article amplifies the voices of pastoralist communities who have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands, through corruption, cooptation, and sometimes through intimidation and violence, to create wildlife conservancies for conservation dollars.