Arts and Entertainment

Artist brings African journeys to Federal Way

Becci Crowe kneels with two baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. The babies’ mothers were killed by poachers, but these young elephants have been saved. It will take several years, but eventually the elephants will be re-released back into the wild.  - Courtesy photo
Becci Crowe kneels with two baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya. The babies’ mothers were killed by poachers, but these young elephants have been saved. It will take several years, but eventually the elephants will be re-released back into the wild.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

She's been up close and personal with mountain gorillas, cheetahs, elephants and natives. Now she is bringing those experiences to Federal Way.

Becci Crowe is an artist from Puyallup whose work will be shown at the Knutzen Family Theatre from Jan. 16 through April 6.

Her life changed in 1995 when she went on the trip of a lifetime to Africa. The former nurse then began using her artistic talent to capture memories of her trip. Since then, she has returned to Africa nine times and has also traveled around the world to nations including India, Nepal and China.

Some of her favorite trips have been to Rwanda, where she searched for mountain gorillas, the rare breed that can only be found in two places in the wild and is the topic of the film "Gorillas in the Mist." She found them, and during a four-day trip, she found new gorillas each day.

She has traveled in Zimbabwe where the lower level of government restrictions allowed her to have experiences you can't find elsewhere — including walking near wild bull elephants.

She's seen wild tigers in India and held a giant panda at a reserve in China.

From 2 to 4 p.m. Feb. 28, she will bring to life her experiences at a special presentation at the Knutzen Family Theatre in Federal Way.

In addition, when her gallery showing opens Jan. 16 at the Knutzen, she will be there from 2 to 4 p.m. to answer questions and talk.

Her presentation will not just be a showing of her documentary "As Close As You Dare — Africa," which can be seen on PBS, but will instead include video and photos of her journeys.

"It will be very visual and interactive," Crowe said. "I like to transport them to Africa, immerse them in the beauty, the danger, the humor."

This showing will also feature some new material from her most recent trip that hasn't been seen anywhere else.

Crowe's artwork is as unique as her subjects. Crowe practices pointalism, a pen and ink technique that is not as common these days, where the entire image is created out of millions of tiny dots that she does with a fine-tipped pen. Most of her work is black and white, or black and white with some color accents.

She first draws a very light sketch of her subject, which can come from photos of her trips, her journals, quick questions or just her memories. She then spends weeks creating the artwork.

"The images emerge and it just takes on a life of its own," she said. "Nobody wants to sit there and do it, but I love it."

If you go

Tickets to the Feb. 28 event are $10. The event is free for those 17 and under.

Call (253) 661-1444 to purchase tickets or go to www.centerstagetheatre.com/plays.html#Africa to purchase online. Tickets will be available for sale at the door the day of the show.

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