Recently, amongst all the outrage sparked over the death of Cecil the Lion, something a bit more peaceful has surfaced on websites such as The Los Angeles Times,BuzzFeed and many other website of a tribute by Aaron Blaise created in honor of Cecil the Lion.
For those of you who do not know, Aaron Blaise has worked on many different projects for Disney from animating assistant on The Rescuers Down Under to co-director for Brother Bear as well as having online courses for art and animation on his website and YouTube page. Cecil the Lion, on the other hand, was a lion who lived in Hwange National Park and was the most popular animal at the park who, unfortunately, was lured out of the reserve and killed by a game hunter from Minnesota. His death touched many, including Blaise, who released an artwork dedicated to Cecil with this description:
Like many people around the world, I was extremely moved by the recent tragedy surrounding the hunting and killing of the beloved lion know as Cecil. – As you may be able to tell I am a HUGE animal lover and it drives me crazy when I see these beautiful creatures destroyed for no good reason. In fact, I’ve decided to get personally involved and hopefully our efforts can help educate people and prevent these horrible things from happening in the future.
As some of you may also know I was one of the animators on “The Lion King” – When I heard the news about Cecil I got inspired to create a tribute image. It’s not much but hopefully it will make people think.
He also decided to upload a time lapse of the artwork’s creation on his YouTube page:
The tribute is based on the quote from The Lion King: “Look at the stars. The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars.” It also bears a resemblance to the famous “Remember” scene in which Mufasa appears in the clouds to help Simba gather the courage to return to his home and take his rightful place as king of the pride lands.
The interesting thing about this is the fact that although Mufasa knows very well that Scar was the one who really killed him—which at this point Simba is oblivious to—he chooses not to tell Simba and without judgment does what he probably knows is for the best. Similarly, unlike a lot of other media regarding Cecil, Blaise does not seem to put any judgments about the circumstances of his death but simply chooses to cherish Cecil as an individual, living creature.
For those interested, the artwork became so popular that it is now available as prints. It is available with the quote and without the quote. All of the profits from the sale of this print will go to WildCRU–the organization that was supporting and studying Cecil during his life and continues to study his pride.
Born and raised in Florida, Matthew has always been that strange little child who never stopped liking those things that most kids do when they get older: Drawing, a good story (especially fairy tales) and of course animated movies (especially foreign ones). Now enrolled in a performing arts school for visual arts, he is patiently awaiting the day when he can finally get the chance to work in animation.