The Cast Whale Project
12 May 2019
The Cast Whale Project was initiated 2008 by German based artist Gil Shachar. The vision was to create a sculpture of a large dead beached whale by moulding it and presenting it exactly as it lay on the beach.
After some years of research and preparations the project was finally realised in South Africa. In August 2018 the Cast Whale Project team was able to take a mould off a Humpback Whale which beached dead in Lambert’s Bay on the West Coast.
The Whale was cast in Salt River, Cape Town, in the course of March and April 2019.
The encounter with a stranded whale brings to one's imagination a parallel world, a world which has been imprinted upon one's (sub)consciousness since early childhood. Whales appear in children's stories, in mythology, in the great religious traditions, in fairy tales, fables, poetry and literature. In all these sources they invariably represent a tremendous power, a wonder of
nature of high intelligence - but one which is also capable of turning into a monster. The whale becomes a projection screen for our imagination, a container of transformation and of rebirth.
The scarcer an encounter with a whale becomes, the more it gains in symbolic power. The direct presence of a whale often triggers feelings of being overwhelmed and of the sublime. Even in the past, it was the privilege of very few people to actually see a whale. Although our technical ability to
observe whales has advanced immensely compared to past centuries, it has become more difficult to do so due to their increasing rareness. The whale represents not only a paradise lost of our childhood, it also embodies the ideal state of the pre-industrial world in which the systematic destruction of nature by man was not yet imaginable. The encounter with a whale might
therefore arouse feelings of melancholy and mourning, for we know – this is a world which soon could vanish as a result of the activities of mankind.
Whales, like us, are mammals raised on mother's milk, and are organized in social structures. Amazingly, the whales were originally terrestrial animals, which over time, went in the opposite direction to the usual evolution - and slowly developed to become aquatic animals. Their often enigmatic stranding can perhaps therefore be understood as an act of homecoming.
Participating: Various artists
Address: 19 Voortrekker Road, Salt River, Cape Town
Opening hours: Tuesday - Friday 12:00 to 19:00. Saturday - Sunday 10:00 - 19:00. Closed Mondays.
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