The exhibition, commissioned by SFA Advisory to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), showcased a series of seating pods depicting endangered species. The sculptures, which depict an orangutan, a polar bear, a sloth, a blue whale and a great white shark, are made of eco-friendly and recycled materials.
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 Heart Works and Mielie to translate his creatures into giant, tactile sculptures whose surfaces have been crocheted, felted, stitched and embroidered with unique embellishments.
“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 LDF. “This exhibition helped raise awareness about the importance of protecting endangered species around the world. 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.”
“Visitors to Design Miami/Basel were 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 were recounted through interaction, video and text,” says Lisa Schiff, Founder and Principal of SFA Advisory.
“It’s the future of the next generation that I am concerned about and the state of the world they inherit. Looking after our animals and earth is one thing but also the preservation of human skills, crafts and traditions,” says Hefer. “I think it’s important to show what beauty humans are capable of with their hands rather than the destructive mass production that technology is driving the modern consumerist society towards.”
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.
Hefer’s larger-than-life seating environments have garnered extensive global recognition over the past few years.