The exhibition, commissioned by SFA Advisory to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), will showcase a series of seating pods depicting endangered species. The sculptures – featuring an orangutan, a polar bear, a sloth, a blue whale, and a great white shark – are made of eco-friendly and recycled materials.
We are now experiencing what can only be called a planetary crisis — a convergence of accelerating climate change, unprecedented loss of biodiversity, and increasing human health issues caused by a toxic environment. The diverse range of projects supported by LDF – from efforts to create and expand protected areas on land and in our oceans, to initiatives to protect and recover species on the brink like elephants, sharks, lions and orangutans, to supporting grassroots and indigenous organizations working to secure environmental protections and implement sustainable solutions at the local level – are a direct reflection of the array of efforts that are needed to turn the tide. LDF believes they can create a world where both nature and humanity coexist in harmony. Not only can this be done, it must be done in order to ensure the long-term survival of both our planet’s magnificent biodiversity, and humanity.
Titled Endangered, the pods were produced using environmentally sustainable materials that have been extensively hand-worked by artisans in Cape Town. Hefer worked closely with textile artist Ronel Jordaan and craft collectives Heartworks and Mielie to translate his creatures into giant, tactile sculptures whose surfaces have been crocheted, felted, stitched and embroidered with unique embellishments.
“Understanding our impact on the environment is a pressing issue, and we hope this exhibition and others like it will encourage people everywhere to consider making small changes toward a sustainable environment.” – Terry Tamminen, CEO of LDF.
The works will be available for sale in a limited edition of three per animal through Southern Guild gallery, with 25% of the sales proceeds supporting LDF’s wildlife conservation programmes.
Visitors to Design Miami/Basel will be invited to sit in, on, and around these friendly sculptural creatures igniting a sense of empathy as the stories of the real animals’ hardships and the importance of their survival to our own lives is recounted through interaction, video, and text.
Hefer focuses on conceptual precepts that manifest in three-dimensional forms, in a variety of executions, from public sculptures and installations to product and furniture design. Fascinated by the reactions and energy a piece can generate in a space, he embraces Africa and the skills and processes that are readily available indigenously, rather than trying to emulate foreign processes. Making use of traditional techniques and crafts that focus on the hand rather than machinery, his works reconnect the senses and evoke an innocent, open-hearted awe.
Images courtesy of Southern Guild & SFA Advisory. Photo by Antonia Steyn.