As part of its 2021 World Lemur Festival, Myakka's Lemur Conservation Foundation (LCF) has announced the winners of its fourth annual art competition. This year, the foundation received 56 submissions from five countries—the U.S., Hong Kong, Portugal, Austria and Madagascar—and 14 states.

Artist Abigail Brynoff of Illinois was awarded a $500 first-place prize for her Angel of the Forest, a digital rendering of the rare silky sifaka lemur. “I chose to focus on one of the nicknames that locals gave it due to their white fur, which is ‘angel of the forest,’" Brynoff explained in her submission. "The piece is meant to capture the angelic qualities of the silky sifaka, an incredibly rare sight in the wild.”

“The artist has recreated the habitat and the appearance of the lemur in a succinct, concise way that allows the viewer to imagine an ideal world for the lemur that is far from the reality of the lemur’s current challenge,” says independent curator, author, lecturer and consultant Marc Ormond, one of this year's judges along with LCF founder Penelope Bodry-Sanders, Ringling College professor George Cwirko-Godycki and artist Jean Blackburn.

Sophie Araque-Liu's piece, Anticipation, won the second-place prize of $250. The digital work is a response to the startling fact that 98 percent of lemurs are threatened with extinction due to deforestation. “I wanted to show how distressing it is to be at risk of losing your home without being able to do anything to stop it," Araque-Liu says. "However, humans like us can help them and preserve lemur habitats by preventing deforestation where they live.”

The panel of judges also chose three honorable mentions from the submissions: Seeing the Danger by Taraoo Ranarison, Homeless by Sandra Weiner and Hope for the Future by Jessie Jordan. The two grand-prize winning pieces will become part of the LCF’s permanent art collection and featured in its 2021 Annual Report.

This week, the public will also have the chance to vote for its favorite submission. The artwork with the most votes will be recognized with this year's Community Favorite award. Click here to view the full gallery and cast a vote. 

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