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News > Old Girl of the Year Award > Emily Lamb (OG 1997-2002) scoops Old Girl of the Year Award 2019

Emily Lamb (OG 1997-2002) scoops Old Girl of the Year Award 2019

The power of social media
Emily sketching in the wild
Emily sketching in the wild

I’m sure you have all heard by now of the Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Greta is an inspirational and brave young woman with fearless passion and unwavering vision. She knows young people have the power to change the world. 
 
I began my wildlife campaign in January quite by accident. I had just moved to Cape Town, alone, to start a new adventure in life and to be closer to the wildlife and wild spaces I love. The idea came from craving a relief from bigger and more time-consuming painting projects. Quite impulsively, I sat down and started sketching a rhino. It took me just 30 minutes. When your mind is still and present, 30 minutes doing something you love just flies by. 
 
I posted the sketch online, together with a small narrative about the desperate plight of rhinos and added a £100 price tag. To my surprise, it sold instantly and so I made a promise right there and then to commit just 30 minutes every day for a year, donating every penny to help save wildlife - ’The Voiceless'. More than 90 days in, I have raised a fair amount of funds to help keep various projects alive and operational. The campaign has also raised awareness for the work of The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and several other small grassroots conservation groups which really are making a difference to wildlife survival.
 
With this wildlife campaign, other doors opened: I have also embarked on an ‘Earthlings Campaign’. Earthlings is a 2005 American documentary detailing the horrors of the use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment and for scientific research. I am using my art to raise funds and awareness to oppose the unbelievable cruelty inflicted on animals for economic purposes. I’ve now almost doubled the amount I have raised for 'The Voiceless’ - and it’s not about to stop. 
 
If you want to master anything, then practice is key. Leading a nomadic, often unsettled life, it has not always been easy to fulfil this philosophy; my routines and structure are entirely different to those in 9-5 jobs. I have had to learn my strengths and weaknesses as an artist and find the best way to commit to a daily practice. The discipline to achieve this was in no small part thanks to Prior’s Field. Discipline and concentrated effort at a young age allow me the freedom to experiment and as time passes and I push harder and wider into my own art, I realise the content and reasons for each painting comes from the breadth of my education. The calibre of what Prior’s Field gifted me and continues to offer today’s students, is more valuable than I can explain.

The ’30 Minute Daily Sketch for Wildlife’ campaign has shown me that it’s not about thinking at all, it’s reacting to something that makes our hearts pulse and our eyes shine. The campaign has sparked off various other initiatives, all related to the welfare and liberation of animals; my undying passion and purpose. I now create exhibitions and sell work with the sole intention of being of service to the wild as it has served me. As Greta says, ‘the house is burning down around us’ and there is a need for radical change, and art and science have always been at the forefront of great change. It is my job as an artist to shake up the rule book and challenge the norm. And Prior’s Field gave me a damn good foundation to do so. 
 
I am honoured to be recognised as Old Girl of the Year 2019. It means a great deal to have this support and I thank Prior’s Field for everything they have done for me. I would love to come back into the school with my sister Peanut to share what we know and are learning in the world of wildlife, with the girls.
 

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