Image for Sharing the story of the Great Pied Hornbill with Surfing England

Sharing the story of the Great Pied Hornbill with Surfing England

1st augustus 2018

At the beginning of the summer, we commissioned Bristol-based artist Kristine Khan to create a unique piece of art to help us tell the story of our FairWild conservation programme, which has helped protect over 1,300 bibhitaki trees since launching in 2013. In this article, Kristine guides us through her creative process of sharing the story of the communities and ecosystems that rely on the conservation of the bibhitaki tree, as well as her focus on the legendary Great Pied Hornbill which returns to nest in its trunks each year.

Creating a FairWild inspired surfboard for Pukka Herbs was a dream brief. The research alone took me on a wonderful mental journey back to the deepest forests of the Western Ghats in India. Suddenly, the fauna and flora of the area surrounded me and with every brush stroke I was returned to those hot days I once spent on that colourful continent.

My focal point for this collaboration was an utterly beautiful bird called the Great Pied Hornbill. This near threatened bird feeds and nests in the bibhitaki tree, which coincidently bares fruits used in some of Pukka Herbs’ organic teas and supplements.

This fruit is combined with the amalaki and haritaki fruits to make triphala (three herbs), a traditional herbal blend used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. You’ll also find triphala in Pukka’s new Turmeric Active tea, which was one of the inspirations for my surfboard design.

Collectors responsibly harvest the bibhitaki fruit under the FairWild certification, which aims to provide a global framework for creating a sustainable and fair-trading system for wild-collected plant ingredients and their products, meaning the tree and the fruit is preserved for the future.

This is incredibly important for the Hornbill that uses the trunk of the tree as its annual nesting site. The female lays her eggs within the hollow and seals herself in for up to three to five months at a time. Her lifelong partner then feeds her through the crack in the bark until the chicks are ready to leave.

It was a pleasure to learn so much about this bird and its surroundings for the design of the board. All the hand drawn graphite pencil images within the white areas of the front deck are of either the food supply of the hornbill or creatures that share the bibhitaki tree with them. All the foliage around the edge of the board are hand-painted in acrylic and include the organic herbs that make up the Turmeric Active blend.

Inspiration also came from Pukka’s new partnership with Surfing England. This organisation supports and improves surfing from the grassroots to the elite (and potentially) Olympic surfers. To celebrate all of this, Pukka wanted to take this one-off piece of surf art to UK surfing events to promote the power of plants.

I felt incredibly humbled and privileged to be involved in this year’s Adaptive Surf Competition in Fistral in June. The surfboard was revealed here and inspired a lot of discussion about the conservation of wildlife and loss of habitat caused by deforestation. Something that is very much in the mind of Pukka and its responsibilities.

The surfboard will be touring the UK this summer, if you would like to see it in detail then you can catch it at these events:

  • English National Adaptive Surf Open, Fistral Beach, Newquay – 30th-31st June
  • English Interclub Surfing Championships, Widemouth Bay – 22nd - 23rd September
  • British National Surfing Championships, Fistral Beach – 6th - 7th October

Be sure to visit Kristine’s official website, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram to see more of her incredible work.

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