Sally Wilson has been chosen as a Finalist in the Wildlife Artist of the Year 2018 for her piece ‘The Shoebill’s Flight (Plight)’. The exhibition ran from the 2nd May- 6th May 2018 at the Mall Galleries.
The piece has been entered in the ‘Vanishing Fast’ category;
I have designed a sculpture which contemplates the fragility of the endangered African Shoebill’s existence and promotes a life-sustaining future for this magnificent bird through forward-thinking aesthetics. It is created to stand the test of time, whilst preserving and celebrating its’ ancient history.
The central African Shoebill (Balaeniceps Rex– ‘King of the Swamps’) is a magnificent bird that nears extinction.
I have designed a cloak befitting the Shoebills ‘royal’ status and to disguise it from predators whilst it feeds on the swamp edges where crocodiles are prevalent; the cloak is ‘patterned’ to imitate the aquatic reptile and hence, create a protective shield.
The back of the cloak is embellished with a coat of arms which celebrates its life; the catfish represents its main food source, the Sudanese flag-its domain, and the whale represents its alternative title- ‘whale of the land’. The left wing of the cloak denotes the wildlife of Sudan. The right wing represents the hippopotamus which drives fish towards the Shoebill, acting as an unlikely ally.
The Shoebill is constructed using a welded steel armature (150H x 120L x 50D cm) covered with white fabric, representing its invisibility to predators. The cloak is created using layered fabric, embellishments, hand embroidery and free machine stitch. No computerised embroidery has been used.
The piece took approximately eleven months to complete, with over 30,800m of machine thread, 350m of Perle cotton and Lame metallic thread and embellished with over 1500 metal findings and 150g of beads.