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Bears insprire artist Richard like never before

When artist and all round thoroughly nice bloke Richard Symonds came out to Chengdu just a few weeks ago with equally lovely sculptor Suzie Marsh and her husband Doug, he told me that he couldn't wait to get started on helping the bears.

True to his word Rich wasted no time on return to the UK and began working on no less than three video clips and a drawing. He also got in touch with UK actress and celebrity — gorgeous Rula Lenska (who has so kindly helped our bears in the past) and, before we knew it, an amazing collaboration was inspired.

Please click on the links below to watch the clips.


The first features Rula asking if the viewer would believe the torture and suffering that the bears endure on farms across Asia. Her voice is so powerful, her passion palpable and the message is clear — who in all conscience can tolerate such dire treatment and suffering of a species so intelligent, so endangered and so deserving of life.

WATCH: Would you believe me?

The second film shows the contrast between farmed and free bears — with the most haunting rendition of the famous Roberta Flack song, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", sung here by Celine Dion.


WATCH: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

Finally, a little film that Richard put together showing our broken bear, Oliver, now enjoying the sun, the gentle lapping of the water in his pool, the smell of the morning dew, and the feel of grass underneath paws that stood on bars............for 30 years.

WATCH: Oliver’s film

Have the tissues ready while you watch the movies — and also marvel at Richard's talents ..... not just giving the bears another well deserved voice on film, but in the first drawing of what I know will be an extraordinary series — all featured in an exhibition, together with Suzie, in the UK next year.

His first creation is of a bear you may have heard about in the past ..... a bear called Jasper who was caged for 15 years and rescued in the year 2000, and has now become a firm favourite with certain members of the team (she writes with an embarrassed grin).

Thank you Richard from us all — your inspiration, kindness and creativity knows no bounds. Thank the heavens for you. Richard send this lovely note shortly after his visit to the sanctuary:


"Having been involved with fundraising and awareness for wildlife through my art over the last 20 years, I have never before felt so moved and passionate about a cause than the inspiring work Animals Asia are achieving. Since my highly emotional and life changing visit to see the bears and Jill's amazing sanctuary in Chengdu in May 2011, I simply can't stop my creative flow of films, poems and of course drawings and paintings in preparation for our exhibition next year. Oliver's story especially touched me and I will never forget the special moments spent watching and observing him and his fellow bears." - Richard Symonds

www.richardsymonds.com
www.topshotphotography.co.uk

Rula also sent some lovely words:

"I am proud and honoured to be part of Jill's Animal Asia angels who dedicate their lives to rescuing these poor tortured bears from their living hell and giving them a chance of freedom which they and all sentient beings deserve..." - Rula Lenska

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