Above: Simon Combes. Below: Simon Combes Conservation Award Trophy, designed by AFC artist Peter Gray
On December 12th, 2004, revered artist, conservationist. Simon Combes was tragically killed by a charging Cape buffalo while hiking near his home in Kenya. Simon was widely respected as a man of superb artistic talent, as a brilliant communicator, writer, instructor, world-traveler, painter, and as a steward of our planet. We were honoured to have had him as a member of Artists for Conservation.
AFC's Simon Combes Conservation Award is the most prestigious award and highest honour AFC presents to a member artist who has shown artistic excellence and extraordinary contributions to the conservation cause, exemplifying the same qualities as the award's namesake. Past honourees include David Shepherd, Robert Bateman, John Banovich, Sue Stolberger, Robert Glen, Dr. Guy Harvey, Pollyanna Pickering, Richard Ellis, John & Suzie Seerey-Lester, and Karen Laurence-Rowe.
A prominent member of AFC, Simon Combes was Project Director of the Kenya chapter of the Rhino Rescue Trust, an organization founded in 1985 to protect endangered species from being poached, and to help the communities surrounding Lake Nakuru National Park affected by wildlife conflicts.
The award's trophy design, the result of a competition among AFC members, was created by Peter Gray of South Africa. Depicting two wildebeest emerging from a mass and fragmenting slightly to indicate the fragility of our efforts to sustain the wilderness areas and the disappearing herds, the trophy is sculpted in clay and founded bronze with personalized inscription.
Learn more about the Simon Combes Conservation Award and past winners.
The Soysambu Legacy - a film tribute to Simon
In 2012, AFC produced it's 2nd documentary film on Simon Combes and Soysambu. "The Soysambu Legacy: Art and Conservation in Africa's Rift Valley" The film focuses on Simon's life, and his efforts to protect and capture in art, Africa's endangered species. It shares how Combes founded the Soysambu Conservancy, a non-profit organisation, and how his son Guy and widow Kat continue to bravely carry on his legacy through art and conservation activism.
As a tribute to Simon on the 10th anniversary of his passing, AFC has released The Soysambu Legacy for personal viewing. Licence is limited to personal viewing only. Please contact AFC for public or group screenings.
2016 | Guy Coheleach
2015 | Karen Laurence-Rowe
2014 | John & Suzie Seerey-Lester
2013 | Richard Ellis
2012 | Pollyanna Pickering
"I am most honoured to receive this prestigious award from the AFC. I think it is wonderful that the AFC formally recognises the unique and valuable role which wildlife art plays in the world of conservation. I believe that I have been very fortunate to able to use my artwork to both fundraise for and raise awareness of the plight of endangered species around the world, and I feel humbled to be given this award for following my passion and vocation."
2011 | Dr. Guy Harvey
"The great significance in receiving this year’s Simon Combes Conservation Award is being included among other artists whose work I have admired over many years. We are living in times when artists can make important statements about the condition and over-exploitation of the natural world around us."
2010 | Sue Stolberger and Rob Glen | Co-recipients
2009 | John Banovich becomes 3rd recipient of Simon Combes Conservation Award
"It is with humble appreciation that I received this honor from AFC. The Simon Combes Conservation Artist Award is aptly named after one of my artistic and conservation heroes, a man that I fortunately was proud to call friend." Referring to two previous winners of the award - British artist David Shepherd and Canadian artist Robert Bateman - John added: "…And it is wonderful to receive an award that two more of my mentors have previously received."
2008 | Robert Bateman becomes 2nd recipient of Simon Combes Conservation Award
“I am honored to have been chosen as the recipient of the Simon Combes Conservation Award. Artists for Conservation, through its varied programs and initiatives, is a leader in raising the public conscience to the beauty of our natural world and is a leader in galvanizing great artistic talent worldwide to support wildlife and habitat conservation. This award speaks to my strongest convictions and represents a flattering recognition by my peers, but it also keeps the memory of a dedicated individual alive,”
2006 | David Shepherd