A sculptural project about action and awareness
The first of five projected pieces, ‘Their Lives in Our Hands, Number 1 – Rhino’ was commissioned by the charity Helping Rhinos to draw attention to the plight of the species in Kenya. Andrew created a special edition of twelve bronze sculptures to be sold at auction. The collection raised awareness of the valuable work of Helping Rhinos and the auction raised important funds for the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.
For centuries the ‘Big Five’ have been the ultimate trophies of big game hunters. They have been hunted, shot and celebrated as sport. Today, thanks to this selfish greed, we could lose them forever and their fate is in the palm of our hands. Andrew has developed a series of five sculptures featuring the Big Five with the aim of bringing awareness of their plight and the threat of their disappearance to a wider audience.
Consistent with Andrew’s method of working is the ethos that a sculpture can be more than just a monument or replication of a physical form. It can be a world of narrative that brings its subject alive. As a master storyteller Andrew wanted to represent the rhinos by illustrating a mother rhino with her baby calf dancing alongside her. The image is one of a proud mother sniffing the air to gauge if there is danger around and at the same time with one eye fondly looking on at her calf who is frolicking playfully beside her. The pair are then held aloft in the palm of a human hand to symbolise the fragility of their existence and reliance on mankind.
For the sculpture Andrew studied dozens of photos of the mother rhino, Nabuul, and her baby, Angela, in their natural surroundings, living and playing together. It was important to capture the very real sense of the baby calf at play. Rhinos are the only four-legged African animals that actually frolic like a baby lamb. It was this movement that he aimed to capture, along with the image of Nabuul as a strong, determined mother who was not going to be beaten. “The metaphor within the sculpture speaks for itself,” says Andrew, “it is within our power to save the plight of these endangered rhinos and we hold their future in our hands.”
Thanks to this limited edition of bronzes, important funds and awareness have been raised, as well as helping Nabuul and Angela themselves. Helping Rhinos supporter Chris Wise commented; “When Nabuul’s mother was killed by poachers, she was discovered unable to fend for herself. She was hand-reared and eventually, after many years, released back into the wild where she had her own calf, Angela. It is her journey from frightened calf to recovery that inspired this commission.”
The rhino sculpture is the first to be produced for this important project. ‘Their Lives in Our Hands numbers 2 – 5′ will feature the lion, African elephant, leopard and African Buffalo. Through the full series of five sculptures Andrew aims to create further awareness of the plight of the Big Five, inspire action and raise money for the causes that support them.