David Yarrow, ‘The River Monster’, 2018, Isabella Garrucho Fine Art

Series: Hippos

The entrance of a narrow creek on the Zambian side of the Zambezi is controlled by an enormous hippopotamus that locals have called Dexter. The water levels can be low here before the rains come and that means that Dexter’s enormous bulk is more on show than the thousands of his fellow species that hang out in the Zambezi itself. This is his home and he is most proprietorial.
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The creek in early morning somewhat reminds me of a mythical “Scooby Doo” set. Either side is heavily wooded and this draws the eye back to the water, which in the minutes before sunrise can look ethereal to the point of downright creepy.
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In the cold months of June and July the temperature can move from around freezing to 30 degrees between dawn and midday - I had never known that speed of temperature change anywhere else in the world and the steam that rises off the warm water during a freezing sunrise offers great potential for artists.
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I needed context for this image and this meant so many things had to be right over and above Dexter himself. He is, of course, not a river monster, but I don’t think “Shaggy” would be taking a boat up this creek in a hurry.

About David Yarrow