I’m delighted to announce that once again all the artworks I submitted to the DSWF (David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation) Wildlife Artist of the Year 2019 competition have been accepted and will appear in the exhibition to be held at the Mall Galleries in London from 29 May until 2 June 2019. The exhibition is not to be missed if you love animals and enjoy wildlife art.
This year you will find a baby greater one-horned rhino (Indian rhino), a sleeping aardvark and a trio of sable antelope sculptures. I was inspired to make a one-horned Indian rhino sculpture after reading the news from Nepal that after a fifth consecutive year without poaching its rhino population had increased by 3%. The Nepalese government takes rhino poaching seriously and deploys troops to guard these critically endangered animals.
Indian rhinos are the largest of the five rhino species. Their armoured skin and hook lip provide wonderful subjects to sculpt. Every rivet on the skin has to be modelled individually, as they vary in size depending on where they are on the body.
Unlike their African cousins, Indian rhino calves have surprisingly dainty feet, so I wanted to show them off. Indian rhino calves also have very large expressive ears, which not only help them detect danger but also communicate how they feel. I chose a standing pose so I could show how the rear armour folds around the tail.
Aardvarks are a very different proposition, but they are such a joy to sculpt! They are so unusual, with their hare-like ears and impressive feet, and yet they possess the most beautiful shapes. I wanted to explore how their bodies relax into a sleeping position, all wrinkled up into a ball with ears gently flopped to the side.
I recently released a limited edition bronze sable antelope sculpture – The Challenge – and was keen to explore the subject further. I have observed sable antelope in the wild in Botswana but recently had the opportunity to visit Woburn Abbey here in the UK to study their animals at close quarters.
It was a captivating experience and this trio of sable antelope sculptures is the result. I particularly enjoy the shapes antelopes form when catching their backs. I feel they work well as a group of three. They really are wonderfully sculptural animals.