Dan Eldon UK, USA, Kenya, 1970-1993



Dan Eldon was born in London, England in 1970. At the age of seven, a family move to Nairobi ignited a lifelong fascination with the land and the people of Africa. Accompanying his journalist mother on her interviews, he observed the power of media to inform and inspire. His father's work with local commu­nity leaders taught him how to transform ideas into action. As a teenager, Dan combined his passion for art, adventure and activism into a personal philosophy that he called, "Safari as a Way of Life."  Although Dan explored more than 40 countries, he was always drawn back to Africa. On July 12th, 1993, Dan, one of the youngest Reuters photojournalists ever, along with three colleagues, was stoned and beaten to death while covering the tragic conflict in Mogadishu, Somalia. At 22, Dan Eldon's safari came to a sudden end. However he left behind seventeen black-bound journals filled with drawings, writings and photographs; vivid collages that chronicle a child's journey into manhood and a lifelong struggle with the forces of good and evil. While Dan's photos are works of journalism, his journals are works of art, a celebration of adventure and a tes­tament of desire to live life to its fullest. Now, through his art, sense of adventure and creative activism, his journey continues. And if the journey truly is the desti­nation, then Dan Eldon has certainly arrived.


Press Release


"Dan Eldon | The Journey is the Destination" featuring over 35 limited edition prints from the journals of the artist, many of which were featured in the best-selling book of the same name published by Chronicle Books.  Every piece has a direct reference to Eldon's safaris, and CVZ Contemporary will be the only place to view several of his actual journals, which will also be part of the exhibition. 


The show is to benefit the Creative Visions Foundation and The Dan Eldon Center for Creative Activism, for which we will be organizing a charity gala in the coming months.


Eldon's art is in numerous prestigious private collections, including those of Diana Rockefeller, Madonna, Julia Roberts, Christiane Amanpour and Rosie O'Donnell, Bruce Webber, Heath Ledger, Robert Redford among many others.  


There will also be a showing of the new award-winning feature film launched at the Toronto Film Festival, The Journey is the Destination, starring Maria Bello and Ben Schnetzer, which tells the story of how Dan Eldon, the artist, explorer, and Reuters photojournalist, led a group of unlikely teens on a rollicking safari across Africa to deliver aid to a refugee camp in Malawi in 1990. The film then follows Dan as he finds himself covering a famine and spiraling civil war in Somalia as Reuters' youngest photojournalist. 


Eldon's personal story as a photojournalist and activist, working to tell stories of war and famine, has been an inspiration to countless people since his death in Somalia in 1993. This tragedy made headlines around the world - Eldon was 22 years old. During his short life, Eldon created 17 journals filled with vibrant collages of his adventures and thoughts. Originally inspired by his friendship with Peter Beard, and later his love for Basquiat and Rauschenberg, these books are filled with vibrant collages of his adventures and thoughts.


In the pages that fill the bulging journals, Eldon reveals imagistic insight into his extraordinary perspective on the world.  They include snapshots of his life growing up in Kenya, explosive images taken in war-torn Somalia, and detailed drawings of the world around him. They are a blend of photographic reality with transient ephemera of the everyday, and vivid blueprints of Eldon's imagination. 


The works' multilayered complexity recalls the photo collages of early 20th century artists such as Hannah Höch and John Heartfield. While both tell of worlds submerged in chaos, Eldon's work seeks to find equilibrium within the madness. From page to page, Eldon's style and rhythm shift and evolve, reflecting his exploration of the world and his place within it.


His story cannot help but touch everyone who comes into contact with it and light a fire inside them to strive to do more in every way possible. To help others, to create art, fall in love, to live life to the fullest and approach it with kindness, beauty and spirit of adventure.


In 1998 his mother Kathy Eldon and sister Amy Eldon Turteltaub founded the Creative Visions Foundation, a publicly supported 501 (c) 3 organization aimed at helping others like Dan use media and the arts to create meaningful change in the world around them. Over the past two decades, Creative Visions has moved from Kathy's kitchen table to its headquarters at the Dan Eldon Center for Creative Activism in Malibu, CA, and the organization has incubated over 400 creative activist projects in more than 35 different countries. Kathy's work has even recognized globally with many awards, including the prestigious Points of Light Award.