Created to stimulate your imagination with fond memories of visiting the zoo. For most of us this would have been our first encounter with a giant creature such as an elephant. The inspiration for this elephant came from one of Belfast’s City’s gems, Belfast Zoo. The zoo opened in 1934 and was originally called Botanical Gardens because of its beautiful setting. It’s located on the Cave Hill which gives the visitors a fantastic view over Belfast. The artist Dawn Crothers frequently visited Belfast Zoo growing up, due to her living very close by. Her fascination with animals and nature began there. As well as the animals on show here, Dawn has taken us on a journey back in time to see the Floral Hall in all its glory. A very popular dance hall from when it opened in 1936, Dawn wants the viewer to see people arriving at the hall all dressed up in anticipation for the night ahead. The original entrance to the zoo also brought back to life and the previous name ‘Bellevue.’ Everyone has their own special memories of visiting the zoo, a place of calm and reflection in the company of the animal kingdom.
Dawn Crothers is a contemporary painter, she paints from her studio in Belfast, which is based in an historic stable building on Lismachan Estate, in the Glenmachan area. Her family home is within walking distance of her studio, where she lives with her husband and two sons. From childhood Dawn has always been passionate about art. She’s inspired by nature, the great outdoors, animals, her family and her daily life. Her paintings give you an insight into the quirky world that she brings to life in her artwork. Dawn’s main medium of choice is oil on canvas, depending on what the subject is she may use different techniques. For example, her famous snail paintings are created using paints straight from the tubes applied thickly and haphazardly, using quick movements, blending colour and texture together to create the desired effect. She has been a professional artist for the last fifteen years and has exhibited in various galleries and exhibitions spaces in London, Liverpool and Edinburgh and was also part of a mixed women’s show back in 2012 in New York, USA. Alongside teaching many adults are children art, both in person and online her paintings and teaching has reached people all around the world from the USA to South Africa.