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Therianthropes are historically among the most ancient of sculptural figures. In some art traditions they tend to symbolize animal-like characteristics in humans that are often seen as negative: aggression, savagery, uncontrolled passion or greed. In contrast, the motivation for my “merged” pieces relates far more to the mythology of the San ("Bushmen") people of Southern Africa (I was fortunate enough to work with 2 San people during my years in environmental education). To quote Dr Michael Wessels (Author of ‘The Bushman Letters’): 'Balcomb’s pieces, like the therianthropic figures in San paintings, which open a door between everyday and spiritual worlds, and between the realms of the living and the dead, explore the relationship between the human and animal worlds, suggesting that identity is fluid, mysterious and beautiful, and that consciousness is a common condition, not the sole possession of human beings. The female aspect of the pieces highlights the vulnerability and sensitivity of both human and animal beings'. These sculptures aim, by replacing the human head with that of other creatures in the world, to turn on its head the notion that human beings must control the earth and all that is in it. They suggest that unity is possible. The instincts and capabilities of animals are things that we need to recognize, respect, admire, and be enchanted by. But more than this we need them, as much as they need us. I hope that these sculptures help to deconstruct the myth of animal “savagery” we have created: to eliminate the fear and endear them to us.
Sculpture:Metal on Bronze
Artist Produced Limited Edition of:20
Size:5.5 W x 19.7 H x 3.9 D in
Ready to Hang:Not applicable
Packaging:Ships in a Crate
Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.
Handling:Ships in a wooden crate for additional protection of heavy or oversized artworks. Crated works are subject to an $80 care and handling fee. Artists are responsible for packaging and adhering to Saatchi Art’s packaging guidelines.
Ships From:South Africa.
Elizabeth Balcomb is a self-taught South African artist known for her haunting figurative sculptures. Balcomb grew up on the banks of the Umgeni River in the Kwazulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa. Intensely drawn to animals and the natural world, she studied Nature Conservation and spent much of her youth communing with wild creatures, some of them human. After graduating she worked at various nature reserves in South Africa and Zambia, focussing on environmental education, before becoming a full-time artist in 2010. Her emergance as an artist was during a period when she lived for over a decade in an isolated log cabin with her partner and son. Much of Balcomb’s work is a re-interpretation of classical sculpture using the language of the Renaissance to explore and expose elements of human nature. Her narrative incorporates aspects of dying and rebirth and matters of identity and personal value. She views the artist's path as an existential conundrum, constantly questioning the meaning of her work in relation to her own value as a human being and that of the natural world. Therianthropes are a recurring theme in her work. Balcomb lives and works between her 2 homes/studios in Durban and in the mist belt forest of Byrne Valley in the Kwazulu-Natal midlands of South Africa. She works in clay and casts limited editions into bronze. Learn more on her website www.elizabethbalcomb.co.za
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