AN Oxford woman who goes dog sledding in the Arctic has now been shortlisted for an international art award.

Kennington adventurer Leila Javadi-Babreh, will find out this month if she has won the David Shepherd Foundation’s Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019.

The 32-year-old – who has garnered a reputation for her adventures, including dog sledding in the Arctic – fought off competition from more than 1,300 other entries to make the final 150-person shortlist.

Her work, called ‘Impermanence’, shows reindeer – known as caribou in North America – in motion in a wintery setting.

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She explained: “It’s called Impermanence because every time I go to Alaska the caribou become fewer and fewer; so the caribou on your left is disappearing into the canvas.

“It’s quite a sensitive and emotive painting – when you hear the background there becomes more and more of a story to it.”

Miss Javadi-Babreh said she tried to use her painting to represent the 'manmade scar' blighting the lives of the deer.


She went on: "The caribou facing the viewer is going to stay and die – it’s got a tiny bit of light on it to signify the beauty of impermenance.

“You can only see the back of them (to represent) changing migration routes due: it’s a play on impermanence being a sad thing but quite a beautiful thing.”

The work will be displayed at London’s Mall Galleries, with the winner announced on Tuesday, May 28, the day before the exhibition opens to the public. It runs until Sunday, June 2.

Ms Javadi-Babreh’s work is being recognised in the ‘animal behaviour’ section – one of seven categories – with a winner announced in each and an overall winner taking £10,000.

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If she wins, she wants to go to Bolivia’s ‘Red Lagoon’ – famous for its distinctive colouring – to paint the resident flamingoes.

Her work is on sale for £14,000 at the exhibition, with half of the money going to the foundation, founded 10 years ago by the late David Shepherd.

The organisation works to ‘fight wildlife crime, protect endangered species, and engage local communities with their native wildlife across Africa and Asia’.

Spokeswoman Jayne Horswill said: “Leila’s painting is a beautiful piece and a wonderful contribution to the competition.

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“We look forward to seeing it hanging in the exhibition and wish her luck for the prize.”

As part of Oxfordshire Artsweeks, Ms Javadi-Babreh is exhibiting a number of her paintings, inspired by her Arctic adventures, on Kennington Road.

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