As a designer, activist and agitator committed to promoting change, we’re thrilled that South African conceptual artist and designer Porky Hefer will showcase an exciting new body of work entitled Endangered at next week’s Design Miami in Basel, Switzerland (June 12-17, 2018).
For the exhibition, Porky collaborated with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation to create a series of larger-than-life, three-dimensional sculptures that are also whimsical seating pods, that have been perfectly realized in the form of a giant reclining orangutan, a lounging polar bear, a hanging sloth, a blue whale and a great white shark – that by virtue of their gargantuan size and off-the-charts tactility, cannot fail to evoke a sense of innocent, open-hearted awe in all who view them.
‘We are incredibly excited to partner with Porky on this exciting project, and we appreciate his creativity and commitment to helping us find new ways to engage the public on issues impacting wildlife,” said Terry Tamminen, CEO of the Leonard DiCaprio Foundation that supports projects around the world to protect vulnerable wildlife and restore balance to threatened ecosystems. ‘Our hope is that the exhibition will raise awareness about the importance of protecting endangered species around the world. Understanding our impact on the environment is a pressing issue and so it is exhibitions like these that encourage people everywhere to consider making small changes toward a sustainable environment.’
Best known for his woven human nest pods and larger-than-life leather hanging sculptures – Porky’s whimsical pieces are beloved and acclaimed for the innate sense of wonder that prevails upon all who find themselves sitting in the mouth of a killer whale or lying horizontally in the body of a crocodile. But then Porky has long had a thing for animals that coupled with a fascination for the natural world and a sense of the ridiculousness that is manifest in every one of his designs. ‘The preservation and survival of our natural environments and animals is critical for future generations as is the preservation of human skills, crafts, and traditions,’ says Hefer. As such each piece in the Endangered series has been hand worked by artisans in Cape Town where Porky’s studio is based using environmentally sustainable materials to crochet, felt, stitch and embroider the surfaces.
‘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 hardships these animals encounter together with the importance of their survival to our own lives, is recounted through interaction, video, and text,” says Lisa Schiff, Founder and Principal of SFA Advisory, a private art consultancy that together with Southern Guild spearheaded this incredible collaboration.