Artists for Conservation Flag Expeditions Program Flag Expeditions Home | Return to AFC Website   
AFC Flag Expedition #2:
The Sacred Source - A Portrait of the Ganges
Expedition Artist: David James Rankin
Purpose: To create a body of artwork that captures beauty and ecological complexity of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas with an emphasis on documenting the ecological and conservation challenges facing the Ganges River system.
Location: Ganges headwaters region, India
Scheduled For: May-June, 2007
View the Journal...
About David Rankin
View the Flag Journal...
Read the Blog...
Artist Acknowledgments
AFC Flag




"My hope is that by creating an artistic body of work that visually documents the rich tapestry of life in these Himalayas at the beginning of the 21st century that an increased respect for Nature can be promulgated. Over the eons, the Ganges has cut her way through the Himalayas, forming deep gorges and ferocious torrents and rapids. Her humidity has fostered the formation of primeval forests and high altitude meadows laden with hundreds of species of exotic wildflowers and herbs that may hold medical promise for the world if they are not lost.

The birds of the Himalayas are an integral feature of the landscape, as are the many exotic species of wildlife that now share the landscape with man. Nowhere on Earth have humans and wildlife shared a more intimate and respectful co-existence than in India and especially in these vast Himalayan reaches. In fact, the world's first formal conservation laws and edicts governing man's conduct in and protection of both forests and wildlife were written and enacted into law in India more than 2000 years ago (Ashok's Edicts). It is our goal to try and provide some tangible measure of assistance to the image of this most unique region through my watercolors, books, lectures and articles."

-David Rankin


Click on a Flag on the map below for more information.

This Expedition with renowned watercolorist, David Rankin, will involve an artistic study of the Indian Himalayas and the Ganges headwaters region through sketches and watercolor paintings. The Expedition will focus on the beauty and ecological complexity of the Garhwal and Kumaon Himalayas with an emphasis on documenting the ecological and conservation challenges facing the Ganges River system, such as increased tourism, glacial recession, forest fragmentation, and shrinking botanical biodiversity in the fabled "Valley of the Flowers".


  1. To create a watercolor portrait of the Upper Ganges River system in the Gharwal and Kumaon Himalayas through my sketches and paintings. I will be focusing on the astounding beauty and complex nature of this fabled region with the hopes of providing an artistic representation of the region that will help foster a greater respect for and desire to maintain and care for the area on into the future in a fashion similar to the artistic influences which have helped to protect and care for America's Yellowstone National Park.
  2. To document a 21st century view of the region-specific ecological and conservation challenges facing the Ganges River system including:
    • The visible and tangible effects of tourism, including pilgrims and trekkers, industry, agri-business, and increased infra-structure development.
    • Observable evidence of Glacial recession in this region and tangible
      effects on the Ganges headwaters
    • Fragmentation of Himalayan elephant forests and its effect on the migratory patterns and genetic diversity in regional elephant, tiger, leopard, and bird populations.
    • Shrinking botanical biodiversity throughout the region particularly in alpine meadows and especially the Valley of the Flowers.
  3. To utilize the resulting body of artwork, research material, and and publicity
    opportunities to further the mission of the WNAG, support conservation initiatives and educate the public to the challenges facing the ecology and species of the Ganges River region. 

The AFC would like to acknowledge the Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum for it's support of the Flag Expeditions Program and as patron of this second AFC Flag Expedition.


  Copyright 2024. Artists for Conservation Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.