Martin Aveling (Mart) is an artivist whose passion for wildlife was born out of his surroundings at a very young age. While his parents were working to protect mountain gorillas on the steep forested slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, Mart picked up pencils and drew them.
Mart has been shortlisted for the finals of DSWF 'Wildlife Artist of the Year' every year since 2009, and in 2021 he was awarded the inaugural ‘David Shepherd Art of Survival Award’ for his work in promoting artivism.
Mart coined the phrase ‘wildlife artivism’ in an effort to encourage stronger calls to actions in the creative output of working wildlife artists. In a highly visual and fickle world of social media, he feels that it is not enough to just keep presenting one side of the story.
“ Things move so quickly these days that without ever showing the ugly side of wildlife conservation people risk forgetting it’s even there. We can’t expect people to feel motivated to take action to protect wildlife if they think everything is OK. By highlighting, in art, the challenges faced by wildlife, it presents a more honest narrative. Art has an amazing way of letting us contemplate certain uncomfortable truths in a more palatable space. Good wildlife artivism doesn’t ever compromise on sincerity. ”
Mart was involved in establishing a new category at WAY for young artists, ‘Human Impact’. The brief is to tell a conservation story in an artwork, and the category is open to artists between 16-22 years. In 2020 Mart later created ‘The Ingrid Beazley Award’ for the winning artist, comprising a grant worth £5,000, designed to support wildlife, encourage creativity and tackle the growing issue of eco-anxiety.
Mart is a signature member of the ‘Artists For Conservation’ group and a global ambassador for Derwent Pencils. His work has been auctioned in London and Paris, with several pieces donated to charity auctions hosted by Christie’s and Sotheby’s. He has staged successful solo exhibitions in Kenya, the UK and the USA, and has raised £50,000 for wildlife charities from the sale of his art.
Mart currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Amy, daughter, Marella, and dog, Jack.