Surrounded by the sights and sounds of creatures at the orangutan pavilion at the Toronto Zoo, Dr. David Suzuki sits for three artists - an experience that he admits is somewhat unusual and challenging. For Suzuki it’s hard to feel the eyes of three artists studying his face even now, after so much fame. A third generation Canadian with Japanese roots, and a child in British Columbia during the Second World War, his family and all families of Japanese heritage lost their livelihoods and freedom when they were forced to live in internment camps. He was made to feel ashamed of his Japanese features, but he is overwhelmed with surprise and delight when the portraits are unveiled, and finds that these artists have reached back in history and even mythology to capture the heroic spirit they see in him.
Suzuki, Co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. He is renowned for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way. He was a faculty member of the University of British Columbia and now is a Professor Emeritus at UBC. Dr. Suzuki is also recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology.