Oenone lived in Lagos, Nigeria from 1992 to 1994, and Tanzania from 1997 to 2000. Her copious collection of African wildlife was inspired by many visits to Rainforests in West Africa, and game parks in East Africa.
Visits to Zanzibar island inspired her work in Tanzania, where she was fascinated by the beautiful Zanzibar doors, many of which were carved with wildlife depicted on them. These carvings inspired her to bring the wildlife that was obviously present in the past, back to present day Zanzibar. Oenone painted real Lions and Zebra standing guard outside the ornate doors.
Oenone’s series of Zanzibar interiors featuring wildlife inside the beautiful Islamic buildings, such as “ Window onto another world”, “Cheetah’s Domain” and “The Lions Dream”, were inspired by Lucian Freud’s early works of interiors featuring Zebra heads. The surrealist juxtaposition of wildlife in a completely alien environment is designed to prompt the viewer to think about the future of wildlife and wilderness.
A visit to Chole ruins near Mafia Island, where an old German town had been abandoned in ruins and completely overgrown by strangler figs. Inspired the theme of wildlife reclaiming it’s own. This theme recurs in her work in India, with the paintings of Ranthambhore, and in Central & South America, with paintings of the ruins in Tikal, and includes the Ancient Greek ruins. The Africa collections were exhibited in Africa and London and helped raise funds for Drill conservation in Nigeria supported by Flora & Fauna Preservation Society, and Rainforest conservation in Cameroon supported by WWF. In Tanzania the exhibitions helped raise funds for Saddani tree planting.