On more than one occasion I have derived inspiration for advocacy work from the opportunity to do something creative before an unusually large audience, particularly when that audience has gathered in the spirit of goodwill.
This portrait of Tracy is a case in point. Created during Live Coverage, a fundraising event for the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (Grand Rapids, Michigan) this image was ultimately auctioned off to benefit UICA programs. But it also served, over the course of that event, as a vehicle through which to promote the Great Apes Protection and Cost Savings Act of 2011.
The GAPCSA is a bill sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), written with the intent of liberating more than 500 federally owned chimpanzees to sanctuaries, and prohibiting the future breeding of chimps for the purpose of invasive medical research.
Tracy herself is a chimp freed from a life of laboratory testing. She now resides at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary located in Keithsville, Louisiana. As I rendered her likeness that night at Live Coverage, many attendees stopped to express their curiosity about my subject, affording ample opportunity to discuss both GAPCSA and my passion for the well-being of all creatures.