Paul Augustinus - Artist
Paul Augustinus was born in Denmark in 1952 and he has lived all of his life in Africa. He grew upon East Africa's Swahili Coast, living and going to school in Dar es Salaam and Mombasa - both very exotic and romantic towns that dramatically influenced this artist's understanding of Africa in an an era when the wildlife and wilderness opportunities available to adventurous individuals on that continent seemed limitless.
In 1978, despite being blessed with a natural talent for painting from a very early age, Paul Augustinus obtained a BSc degree in geology from the University of Natal in Durban where he also discovered his other passion in life - surfing - a passion that continues to the present day. In 1979, after one year working as a geologist in the Karoo, Paul Augustinus decided to take up painting full-time. With this risky plan in mind he bought an old Land Cruiser 4x4 pick-up, loaded it with camping gear and then moved to northern Botswana permanently. For the next eight years he lived and painted under canvas in his own camps in the wildest parts of the Okavango and Chobe regions, returning to Durban every rainy season to recuperate and to surf. His first book, Botswana, A Brush With The Wild, is a large-format memoir of these adventurous first years as an artist in the African wilderness and is illustrated with his own paintings, sketches and photographs. This was published in 1987 by Acorn Books, and was launched at the Everard Read Gallery in conjunction with an exhibition of his paintings - his first solo show! In the following decades Paul Augustinus has had many more successful solo shows at Everard Read in Johannesburg. Commissions during this period also included four postage stamps for Botswana - part of a special series for the World Wildlife Fund Omnibus edition of Endangered Wildlife.
During 1990, Paul Augustinus and his wife, Clarissa, who has a PhD in Social Anthropology and now works at a global level for the UN, spent five months camping in the wildest parts of Alaska where Augustinus sketched the indigenous wildlife of the Alaska Range, the Brooks Range and the Denali area.
In 1992 Paul Augustinus was the subject of a documentary made by Danish National Television, which was broadcast in several European countries.
In 1993 several paintings of his were successfully auctioned at Christie's in London. Of his work, Nicholas Hammond, the Wildlife Art Newscolumnist commented, 'Augustinus was more successful in sharing his experience than many better known names - each painting sold for more than its upper estimate.' More of the artist's work sold at Christies 1995 Wildlife Art Auction.
In 1996 Paul and his wife spent three months on a risky foot safari that penetrated the heart of the Ndoki rainforests in Congo Brazzaville during a time when that country was having a violet revolution. The documentary they made of that arduous journey was broadcast both locally and internationally.
More recently this artist has concentrated on the iconic scenery and culture of East Africa and the Swahili Coast as well as making four more epic foot safaris to the Congolese rainforests to collect material for a planned future show of rainforest paintings.
Works by Paul Augustinus hang in private and public collections in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom and South Africa. His paintings reflect his own very personal experience of Africa and the immediacy of his work derives from the fact that he has spent so much time living and painting in the bush. During the past four decades this artist has genuinely 'lived what he paints', and he has accrued eighteen continuous years camped wild in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Sudan, Congo, Gabon, and the Central African Republic. In his own words his explanation for this dedicated lifestyle is that 'I am not an artist who has looked for a subject to paint. Rather it is the romance of wild country that has made me want to be an artist!'
However the nature of wilderness has changed dramatically during the last four decades - and the artistic path of Paul Augustinus is now defined by a changing journey - one in which he is determined to experience and depict Africa's last remaining bastions of "original" wilderness in an era where the environmental sustainability of his beloved Africa is now teetering on a knife edge.
Botswana: A Brush With The Wild- Paul Augustinus, Acorn Books, 1987
(ISBN 1-874802-05-X Standard edition, ISBN 0-620-09677-2 Collectors’ edition)
The Red Lechwe- WWF/Botswana first day stamp covers, 1988
Desert Adventure- Paul Augustinus, Airlife/Acorn Books, 1991
(ISBN 1-874802-08-4 Standard edition, ISBN 1-874802-09-2 Colelctor’s edition)