A collector of my animal sculptures had recently decorated her bedroom on an African theme and, having bought my family of warthog sculptures, commissioned a wildebeest sculpture to continue the theme. It was important I kept to a matt finish and used horse hair for the mane and tail so it all tied in. As all my sculptures are started from scratch it allows the client freedom to request any pose. It was decided a lying down wildebeest would work best.
A few years ago I visited the Ngorongoro Crater on a Tanzania trip. It was a baking hot day and everyone was feeling the heat. We came upon a small group of wildebeest who, with no option of shade, were sitting out the heat. They had their head lowered as if to say ‘grin and bear it lads!’
With the wildebeest sculpture I wanted to give the impression of the heat bearing down and of stoic endurance. Despite having a ‘characterful’ face, wildebeest have an elegant frame so I felt an outstretched front leg would emphasise that.
I live in the countryside surrounded by a lot of horse enthusiasts. Word has got out that I use horse hair in my sculptures so periodically I come home to a bag of horse hair hooked onto my gates. This wildebeest sculpture’s hair was kindly donated by Oliver and Cymbal.