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Large trees in rainforests often have buttresses – extended trunks that morph into roots –which provide the trees additional support along steep slopes or soft muddy forest floors. And, on and among the buttresses, in the forest understorey, an abundance of plants and animals flourish. This beautiful artwork by Sartaj Ghuman showcases the life around the buttress of a tree in the rainforests of the Anamalai Hills. As you scroll down this illustration, the flora and fauna that live around the buttress will present themselves one after the other, and what’s more, you can hear some of their calls too!

Created as part of a set of nature education outreach materials for the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), the project was conceived, conceptualised and implemented by NCF scientists TR Shankar Raman and Divya Mudappa, along with Sartaj Ghuman who was the resident artist of the programme in 2018. The project was supported by a grant from the Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Co. Ltd., Chennai. 

The paintings were incorporated as digital interactive displays at the Anamalai Nature Information Centre (ANIC) in Iyerpadi near Valparai. Established by NCF in 2008, in collaboration with Parry Agro Industries Ltd., an environmentally-conscious plantation company, the centre is home to many posters developed with other renowned wildlife artists like Maya Ramamswamy, Rohan Chakravarty, Sartaj Ghuman, and Nirupa Rao, to provide attractive and educational information on plants and animals of the Valparai plateau and the Anamalai Hills. The digital interactive display at the centre also includes interactive artwork previously published on Nature inFocus, by Sangeetha Kadur and Daniel Luis.