Animal Magnetism

Art Basel can be overwhelming. The art fair itself is of course gigantic and the surrounding shows only add to the immersion. This year, if I had to pick only one favorite out of the many it would have to be Porky Hefer’s giant animals at Design Miami. Here is why:

The enormous creatures, whale, sloth, polar bear, ape and shark at the shared stand of SFA Art Advisory, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and Southern Gild were spectacular in size, brilliant in design, sustainable in material and deep in their message.

Yelda is an endangered Orangutan. She is designed by Porky Hefer

The effect of the stand was remarkable. It brought a smile to the face of even the most exhausted art collector whose senses got over-bombarded by all kinds of masters. The polar bear and the orangutan were probably the most popular photo setting of Art Basel this year, too. Both are super soft and cuddly to sit on. They turned visitors into happy kids in a heartbeat which is why I pick Hefer’s stand as my personal winner.

Call it art, call it design, it doesn’t matter as long as it changes the way a visitor feels or behaves. The attraction was almost irresistable. You simply had to touch the animals and smile. This made me think about truly powerful art. The desire to touch is child-like, the desire to hide and to be embraced is, too. Well done, Porky!

Hefer used recycled materials like old t-shirts and plastic bottles to have the giant cuddly animals handmade in Cape Town, South Africa by Ronel Jordaan and her team of artisans:

The whale was named Wendy after the designer’s mum, there is an orangutan called Yelda, Sandy the shark, Trevyn the sloth and Quasiqtuk the polar bear, all priced between USD 75k and 100k.

Quasiktuk is an endangered Polar Bear. She is designed by Porky Hefer and handcrafted in Cape Town by Ronel Jordaan and her team of artisans using South African Merino wool, hemp and polyester recycled from plastic bottles.

‘Trevyn’ is an endangered Pygmy Sloth. She is designed by Porky Hefer and handcrafted in Cape Town by Mielie artisans using handwoven and knitted recycled T-shirt yarn, corduroy, and steel frame.

About the author

Afraa Zammam, engineer, best-selling author and art curator covers art fairs, exhibitions and people at Portray Magazine.