Africa, Wildlife and Art

I’m very proud to have roots in Africa.  David Attenborough’s recent BBC TV series has brought the continent to the fore and each film brings tears to my eyes – mingled emotions of sadness, nostalgia, amazement, joy, laughter, despair, pride, love…  Several people have commented to me on the memorable Dung Beetle and Ball episode, as I have an affinity with Dung Beetles.  I make sculptures of them, use one as my gravitas and even won David Shepherd’s 3-d Wildlife Artist of the Year Award (’09) with my Dung Beetle and Ball piece (see below).  Since my childhood, I’ve always been captivated by dung beetles.  Their attachment to dung, the backward ball-rolling, their striking appearance, strength and perseverance appeal to my interest in the extra-ordinary.  Worshipped by the Egyptians, they are also symbols of wealth and power.  My Dad used to (and still does!) enjoy picking up dried elephant dung on safaris (see also my brother’s Andrew Campbell safaris) or driving over it for fun, and I guess the dung thing has stuck.  Hopefully, more people now understand that the beetles roll balls with their back legs and why they love dung so much (nutrition, nest etc..).  In galleries I’ve had to reverse my beetles, after being placed the wrong way round!

This week I managed to catch the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at Bristol Museum before it ends (today).  Wildlife in all its guises – again raising all sorts of emotions with incredible images of nature – closeup, narrative, beauty and horror (mainly due to ‘sick people’ as my son succinctly put it).

My son and I then popped to the Arnolfini’s Worktable event as part of IBT13, passing IBT’s fake moon rising in College Green on our way to the harbourside.  Worktable is a drop-by interactive artwork by Kate McIntosh set in connected shipping containers with microphones to record the antics. We chose an item to use/smash up (rollerskate), which was great fun to do in a room on our own, then had to artfully re-assemble someone else’s trashed object (car) in a shared room with other creative participants, with very basic materials. Equally exciting was seeing the results of everyone else’s handiwork at the end.  Challenging work – good for lateral thinking with no pre-conceived ideas.  Project ends later today.

 

Press 2009 – 2011

Wildlife Artist of the Year Award ’09

Somerset Life Magazine article 2009:

garden beet – Sculptures for Gardens

Spaeda Magazine feature 2010:

bbc news – Glastonbury Festival’s Greenfields 2010 – Giant Spider

Green Diary – Glastonbury Giant Spider project

winkball.com – First 2 videos show me at work on Spider at Glastonbury

Mendip Times – Glastonbury Spider ’10

Somerset Life – Carymoor Environmental Sculpture Project 2010

Mendip Times – Carymoor Environmental Sculpture Project 2010

bbc news – Somerset Art Weeks 2010

bbc news – Insect sculptures stolen from Dobbies entrance

Spaeda – featured school project

Wincanton Window – Art for Life – Sustainable Sculptures in Historic Venues (2011)

Central Somerset Gazette – Scraptors at Pylle scrapyard (’11):

Wincanton Window – Scrap – The New Alchemy

Warminster Journal:

Period Living article – Salvo Fair 2011

TAAG – Devon Recycled Sculpture Trail 2011

Chronicle front page – Stackpool, Kidderminster – Community Insect Sculpture Project:

This is Somerset – Somerset Art Weeks 2011

Somerset Life Magazine – Art in the Garden, Somerset Art Weeks

Thinly Spread blog – Scraptors Stourhead Sculpture Trail ’11

This is Somerset – Stourhead Sculpture Trail ‘Beyond the Garden Gate’ ’11

Wincanton Window – Stourhead Sculpture Trail ’11