Illustrator, painter, designer and business woman, Victoria Verbaan, has been chosen as an ambassador for the Under an African Sky 2017 calendar campaign.

Under an African Sky (UAAS) is a voluntary organisation started by Compass Medical Waste Services eight years ago. Over the years, the committee of ten Compass staff volunteers has raised R1.3 million for animal welfare through their calendar campaign.

The 2017 calendar is entitled ‘Reflections of Africa’ and features South Africa’s majestic wildlife and their reflections in water.

Victoria and her brand ‘Victoria Verbaan and the Smoking Daxi’ is well known locally and internationally and its range of products includes various fabric collections, limited edition fine art prints, wool rugs, wallpaper, ceramics and other functional products.

“I wanted to build a fun and uplifting brand, which would also serve as a platform for my art outside of two dimensional drawings and paintings,” explains Verbaan.

The Smoking Daxi is Harry, the much adored miniature dachshund of Victoria and her daughter Phoebe, who often appears in Victoria’s paintings and illustrations. Plans are in the pipeline for a children’s book featuring illustrations of the gorgeous and eccentric Smoking Daxi.

Marigold and Gracie, also long-haired miniature dachshunds, have recently been added to the indulged ‘daxi family’ and a source of inspiration for Verbaan.

To stay on top of the creative game and to improve her skills as an illustrator and artist, Victoria gives herself the challenge of completing a doodle every day.

“I used to work in quite a rigid manner, where every line and colour block had to be perfect. This can become paralysing. I set myself the challenge of daily doodles so I can improve my skills as an illustrator and artist. It’s my playtime, where I don’t worry about the outcome. However, I do have to be very disciplined and committed to the creative process every day. Practise, practise, practise!” she says.

Verbaan’s love for animals, wild and domestic, is showcased in her art. In June this year she hosted an exhibition at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery entitled ‘Safari Sweet Suite’ which featured exquisite paintings of elephants, giraffe, cheetah, a flamboyant warthog, meerkat, the endangered wild dog, lion and a cheeky monkey who also took centre stage at Verbaan’s ‘Slyboots’ exhibition at the Oyster Box in July.

The ‘Safari Sweet Suite’ was opened by director of CROW, Paul Hoyte. CROW has been the beneficiary of the UAAS calendar campaign for the past six years with over

R915 000 having been donated to assist CROW with the rescue, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and injured wild animals.

Verbaan says she is thrilled to be part of the campaign and believes it is our obligation to ensure that we keep our wildlife protected so that our children can enjoy them.

The A2 wall calendar sells for R180 excluding postage while the CD size desk calendar, comprising the same stunning photographs, sells for R60. To order your calendar, please phone Dianne Reddy on 031 267 9700 or email orders@underanafricansky.co.za or visit www.underanafricansky.co.za.