10 Jun

Fur, Feathers… and Scales


From floral abstracts to pet chameleons, such is the versatile talent of Mount Edgecombe artist Ali Akal, writes Lee Currie. 

In addition to accepting commissions for a variety of subjects, Ali began painting pet portraits for clients in 2018. “I was exhibiting my work when I decided to do some smaller canvasses to add a different element to the exhibition,” she recalls. “I quickly painted Coffee, my Dashchund – and my muse – in some bright pop art colours and then added three more portraits of different breeds of dogs. I wanted to create contemporary pieces in bright colours rather than the usual ‘chocolate box’ images. To my surprise, all four portraits sold!”

Through word of mouth and social media Ali has since painted around 34 commissioned portraits with more in the pipeline – dogs, cats, a parrot and her most challenging to date, the chameleon which she says became one of her favourites.  “Original artwork is much more exciting than photographs as I enjoy changing the composition and colours and trying to capture the pets’ characters. I’ve noticed that the demand for pet portraits has definitely increased, perhaps as a result of lockdown as I feel families have come to value their pets more after spending a lot more time with them.”

It also helps to have an innate love of animals and Ali takes time to help our less fortunate creatures. A loyal supporter of animal welfare organisations such as SPCA and Project Dog, she uses her artwork to raise funds as well as helping to collect food and blankets: “2020 has been a very difficult year for these societies that rely on donations.”

Ali is currently working on a range of gift cards entitled Call Me A Dog using images of her own dogs and further down the line Ali’s Cats, with a percentage of sales going towards animal welfare organisations.

“As much as I enjoy painting pets, I haven’t forgotten my love for florals and abstracts and always welcome the challenge of tackling something I haven’t done before.” *





Exclusive to you, Ali is offering to do a 20cm x 20xm oil on canvas painting of your pet. Closing date is June 30, 2021.




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