Native Visions Galleries of Naples hosts world-renowned African wood sculptor Mopho Gonde on Friday, Feb. 28 from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 29 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at 737 5th Ave. S. in Naples. A primarily self-taught artist, Gonde carves amazingly realistic sculptures of Africa’s wild animals in the unique medium of leadwood, a hard, heavy wood that is like rock. The exhibit runs through March 20.
Like teak, leadwood is extremely hard and when polished turns a rich reddish color, giving it a wonderful earthy look. Gonde’s animal sculptures are painstakingly created by hand and capture the very essence of each animal in exacting detail, and Gonde spends days in the bush searching for material that meets his standards. Because of the degree of workmanship that goes into creating each carving, Native Visions only receives between 17 and 20 a year, putting Gonde’s work in demand as wildlife art collectors recognize his great talent.
Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Gonde is hailed as the finest leadwood sculptor in southern Africa, producing works reflecting key stretches of the Zambezi River watershed, a biologically rich corridor seen as a bellwether for African wildlife.
“The greatest thing about leadwood is that the hardwood trees need not be destroyed,” said Ross Parker, Call of Africa’s Native Visions founder. “This medium comes from dead trees, once pushed over by great elephants, which have laid in the African sun and rain for years and have almost become petrified.”
A portion of the proceeds from sales of Gonde’s work at both events will benefit Conservancy of Southwest Florida, an organization Native Visions Galleries regularly supports.
RSVPs are required for the Friday evening event and may be made by calling the gallery at 239-643-3785.
About Native Visions Gallery:
Native Visions Gallery in Naples’ comprehensive traditional and contemporary environmental fine art collection includes beautiful and breathtaking African wildlife and landscapes, dramatic Everglades scenes, powerful seascapes, historic safari scenes as well as amazing floral and still-lifes. Various mediums used include oil, pastel, watercolor, acrylic, stone, wood, bronze, rare verdite, murano and cast glass. Many of the gallery’s artists’ works have been featured on the covers of both Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction catalogues and several have had their work selected by national museums around the world including the Royal Academy of Portraiture Art in London. The gallery’s highly talented artists have exhibited in numerous shows including Safari Club International, Dallas Safari Club, Leigh Yawkey Museum – National Birds In Art Exhibit, Artists International Plein Aire Society and Society of Animal Artists to name a few.
In 1987 Ross Parker, who is originally from Zimbabwe, Africa, and his wife, Kirsten opened their first gallery in Boca Raton, featuring many of southern Africa’s most talented painters and sculptors. He opened the gallery in Naples in 1999 and currently also has locations in Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens. For information, visit nativevisions.com or call 239-643-3785.