Artforwild is made up of Mireille Ockenfels and Nicole Freitag, both German and passionate conservationists.
Mireille, a wildlife artist and photographer, visits wildlife sanctuaries across the world, discovering remarkable animals and their stories, and capturing the heartbeat of those animals and their stories in photographs. She is passionate about wildlife and animal conservation.
Nicole is the owner of a media agency in Germany, with a corporate history in banking, and together with Mireille brings these unique stories, in the form of emotional photographs, to the public. She also uses her contacts within the corporate industry to generate ongoing support for wildlife sanctuaries.
“On meeting Samira the wise, old cheetah - in the early morning sun, her eyes full of wildness - my life was changed. This was the intimate moment, the remarkable creature, that inspired the ArtforWild project. I saw her and felt compelled to help her, and others like her.” - Mireille Ockenfels, co-founder of ArtforWild
Mireille is the co-founder of Art for Wild, a photographer and artist with a heart for wildlife. Her inspiring creative origin story started the moment she met Samira, a majestic cheetah whose wise gaze captured her heart. Mireille vividly recalls that early morning when she locked eyes with Samira, and in that instant, her life was forever changed. She was struck by the wildness in Samira's eyes and knew she had to capture this remarkable creature on camera. Samira was the oldest cheetah at N/a’an ku sê, a wildlife sanctuary that offers a second chance to orphaned, injured, and conflict animals. When she first arrived, Samira was in poor health after being kept as a pet for many years and fed an incorrect diet. But with the right care and nurture, she blossomed into the magnificent cheetah she was always meant to be. Her resilience and beauty left a lasting impact on all who encountered her.
Samira played a pivotal role in deepening the human connection with carnivores at N/a’an ku sê, and she quickly became the heart of the sanctuary. Her passing in 2017 was deeply felt by all who knew her, but her legacy lives on through the work of the sanctuary. Inspired by Samira's spirit and beauty, Mireille created her first art piece, "Samira, the Heart of N/a’an ku sê" in 2017. This 11x16 inch portrait of Samira was a labor of love, and the proceeds from its sale were donated to N/a’an ku sê. It was the first step in a remarkable journey that would see Mireille using her art to make a positive impact on wildlife.
Today, the Art for Wild project is a testament to the power of art to change the world. Through Mireille’s stunning photography and artwork, Art for Wild is raising awareness and support for the protection of wildlife and their habitats. Samira will always hold a special place in Mireille's heart and remains a driving force behind her passion for wildlife conservation.
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