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Thursday 02 April 2020

Sea Stars & Sketches: Wildlife Charity Born Free Set To Benefit From Exclusive Exhibition & Auction To Be Held On Brighton's i360

Later this year in Brighton, renowned artist Gary Hodges will host an exclusive exhibition and auction of his embellished wildlife prints to raise vital funds for international wildlife charity Born Free.

Taking place at Brighton's British Airways i360, the event will be hosted by actress Rula Lenska, with a live auction from celebrity auctioneer James Lewis. 

Joining them will of course be Born Free's co-founders Virginia McKenna OBE and Will Travers OBE.

Gary said: "I will be exhibiting 35 embellished prints; 10 will be auctioned live and the rest will be sold in a silent auction.
"Embellished prints are completely unique – I spend up to two days carefully adding thousands of new pencil strokes onto a print so no two pieces are the same. 

"These embellished prints are the closest thing people can get to owning a new original as I completed my last original drawing over five years ago." 

As a child he grew up with a strong passion for animals and was given wildlife books which gave him considerable knowledge of many different species.

He was also influenced by his love of comics such as X Men and Spiderman and at school he was encouraged to pursue his love of art, especially drawing.

Gary first met the stars of the movie Born Free, Virginia McKenna and the late Bill Travers, in 1989 at the Society of Wildlife Artists'' annual exhibition in London. 

He states that he was "a little overwhelmed and shocked when they wanted to buy my Eléphants Africains drawing." 

McKenna and Travers had set up Zoocheck (later to be known as Born Free Foundation) to press for closure of zoos.

Soon after this meeting, George Adamson, the true-life character in Born Free, was murdered in Kenya. 

Hodges received a call from McKenna asking him to accept a commission to draw Adamson in time for a memorial service in London. 

Working from old videos and photographs Hodges created George Adamson with Boy and Christian (1989), Adamson's favourite lions.

Virginia Mckenna loved the drawing and Hodges stated this gave him greater confidence as an artist.

Hodges and McKenna have remained friends with Hodges supporting the Born Free Foundation for many years. 

McKenna said of the drawing: 

"A picture of love and trust. Lord of the Lions George Adamson with Boy and Christian. 

"The living spirit of the animals shines through their eyes and the beauty of their physical presence leaps from the paper. An artist who understands."

Tickets to Gary Hodges' Sea, Stars and Sketches on the British Airways i360  - Saturday 26th September 2020 - cost £45 or £65. All proceeds raised from the event will go directly to Born Free to carry on their crucial work in creating a future for wildlife around the globe. For more information, or to purchase tickets visit

by: Mike Cobley


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